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New test launches of short-range missiles by North Korea prove that the Communist regime is determined to carry on with its missile program
New test launches of short-range missiles by North Korea prove that the Communist regime is determined to carry on with its missile program, a high-ranking Russian defense source said Thursday. South Korean media reported earlier Thursday that North Korea had fired two short-range anti-ship missiles into the Yellow Sea to the west of the country. "Test launches of short-range missiles conducted by North Korea Thursday indicate that the country is pushing ahead with its missile program," a source in the Russian Defense Ministry said. He said the missiles launched by North Korea were hard to intercept, but that Russia should have spotted the launches that were conducted, according to Yonhap news agency, in the morning and in the late afternoon. It is the second time the Communist state has launched a short-range missile into its coastal waters in a fortnight. In late May, Japanese media said North Korea had launched several missiles towards the Sea of Japan, while South Korean intelligence reported only one short-range missile as part of Pyongyang's regular drills. However, some experts and media said that the missile test could have been in response to South Korea's launch of its first Aegis-equipped destroyer. Pyongyang's weapons tests have brought international pressure to bear on the country over its nuclear program, and it is being pushed to meet its February commitments on disarmament, particularly the shutdown of its nuclear reactor in return for aid. However, North Korea is still waiting for the outcome of a banking dispute over the release of $25 million of its funds held in a Macao bank that the United States blacklisted in 2005 on counterfeiting and money laundering charges. The Russian source warned Thursday that a successful completion of North Korea's missile program could spark a new round of the arms race in the region. "Asian Pacific countries that do not possess missile technologies will attempt to get hold of them," the Russian expert said.
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