SEOUL (Reuters) – North Korea said on Monday its test-firing of missiles this month was conducted in a “completely safe” way because it made sure ships and aircraft were not in the area before the launch.
North Korea, which ignored international warnings not to conduct the tests, gave notice to its ships to stay out of waters east of the Korean peninsula a few days before the launch, South Korean government officials said.
“The DPRK (North Korea) launched missiles only after airspace, land and waters of the sea had been confirmed to be completely safe. Their launches, therefore, hurt neither ships nor civilian planes, nor anyone,” its KCNA news agency reported.
The U.N. Security Council passed a resolution condemning North Korea for the launch, with Washington and others saying it was a provocative act.
The North did not gave prior notice of a launch to the outside world because that could have created a grave situation in the region, KCNA said, arguing the United States and Japan might have shot down the missiles.
“The United States, now technically still at war with the DPRK, had been kicking up a war atmosphere for a month in collusion with Japan, threatening to intercept any missile to be launched,” KCNA said.
North Korea fired a long-range missile over Japan in 1998, sparking a regional security crisis.
It fired seven missiles on July 5, including its long-range Taepodong-2 missiles, which experts said could potentially hit parts of U.S. territory.