North Korea fires 3 short-range ballistic missiles, US says

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NORTH KOREA —  North Korea fired three short-range ballistic missiles Saturday morning from Kangwon province, the US Pacific Command said.

Though North Korea says it now has the ability to send missiles to the US mainland, US defense officials said they determined these missiles did not pose a threat to North America or Guam.

Cmdr. David Benham, spokesman for US Pacific Command, said the first and third missiles “failed in flight” and the second missile launch “appears to have blown up almost immediately.”

The missile tests occurred as the United States and South Korea conducted the annual Ulchi Freedom Guardian military exercises.

South Korea and the United States call the exercises defensive in nature, but North Korea sees them as provocative and hostile, perhaps even preparation for an invasion.

“The Korean People’s Army is keeping a high alert, fully ready to contain the enemies. It will take resolute steps the moment even a slight sign of the preventive war is spotted,” North Korean state-run newspaper Rodong Sinmun said.