N. Korea: Missile Launch a Dry Run for Blowing Up South's Airports
And US targets
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 20, 2016 1:06 PM CDT
A South Korean man holds a sign during a rally to denounce deploying the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system, or THAAD, near the US Embassy in Seoul, South Korea, on July 11, 2016.   (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)
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(Newser) – Three ballistic missiles launched by North Korea Tuesday into the Sea of Japan off of South Korea's eastern coast wasn't just an arbitrary exercise, the Washington Post reports. The apparent intent of the Kim Jong Un-approved launch: A dry run at "preemptive strikes at ports and airfields in the operational theater in South Korea, where the US imperialists' nuclear war hardware is to be hurled," the Korean Central News Agency says. "Kim Jong Un expressed great satisfaction over the successful drill." NBC News notes it's not clear what date the drills that KCNA is referring to took place, though it appears to be referencing Tuesday's launch. The launch is also seen as an angry protest of sorts in response to the South's plans to protect itself against incoming warheads via the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system it's setting up with help from the US.

Others who are also not pleased with the defense strategy: local South Koreans—especially in the area of the county of Seongju—who are afraid that the missile-intercepting system could put a target directly on their region. Some residents even hurled eggs at the South Korean prime minister last week when he visited to try to ease their fears. North Korea also made it clear Wednesday that while the actions were directed against the South, America should take heed as well, per Stars and Stripes. "The US should go back home, abandoning its wicked intention for permanent stay in South Korea," a North Korea army rep was quoted as saying by KCNA. (South Korea is also freaked out by strange North Korea radio broadcasts.)