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S. Korea set to hold top commanders' meeting over N.K. missile

South Korea is set to convene a meeting of top commanders on Thursday to check the country's readiness to counter North Korea's latest missile provocations, Seoul's defense ministry said.

Defense Minister Han Min-koo plans to preside over the meeting to be attended by about 150 top-ranked military commanders, to discuss the North's test-firing of two mid-range ballistic missiles and the South Korean military's countermeasures, it said.

On Wednesday, North Korea fired off what is believed to be two Musudan intermediate-range missiles from the east coast city of Wonsan, making its fifth and sixth launches since April.

Of the two missiles launched, the second one reached an altitude of about 1,000 kilometers and flew some 400 km. Pyongyang claimed Thursday the successful test-firing of what it called the Hwasong-10 missile.

The military commanders plan to strongly condemn the North's move as it clearly violated relevant U.N. Security Council resolutions and poses a grave threat to peace and security on the divided peninsula, according to the ministry.

A ministry official said that Han is expected to call for the military to raise its guard against North Korea and to sternly respond to additional provocations by the North.

The Musudan missile, with an estimated range of some 3,000 to 4,000 kilometers, could theoretically fly as far as the U.S. territory of Guam.

The North's missile tests raise concerns about advances made in the North's nuclear and missile program as Pyongyang is seeking to develop a nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missile capable of hitting targets in the U.S. mainland.

South Korea has been speeding up the development of the indigenous Korea Air and Missile Defense aimed at better countering North Korea's missile threat. A pre-emptive missile destruction system, the so-called Kill Chain, is also under development to detect and strike North Korea's missile and nuclear facilities. (Yonhap)


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