North Korea fires three ballistic missiles in "show of force"

Officials say the missiles travelled far enough to strike all of South Korea

North Korea fires three ballistic missiles in "show of force"

Picture by: Ahn Young-joon / AP/Press Association Images

North Korea has fired three ballistic missiles into the sea off its east coast, according to South Korean officials.

The missiles were launched between 5:45am and 6:40am local time from the Hwangju region in the western part of North Korea.

South Korea's military said in a statement that they travelled between 500 and 600 kilometers and are believed to be short-range, Scud or Rodong type.

"The ballistic missiles' flight went from 500 km to 600 km, which is a distance far enough to strike all of South Korea, including Busan."

North Korea has fired both types of missiles numerous times in recent years, although it is barred by UN sanctions from any test of nuclear or ballistic missile technology. 

A South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff official said: "Our assessment is that it was done as a show of force."

South Korean protesters during a rally agaisn't THAAD. Picture by: Lee Jin-man / AP/Press Association Images

The launch comes a week after South Korea and the United States announced they will deploy the advanced U.S THAAD missile defense system at Seongju County, about 250 kilometers southeast of Seoul.

The system is intended to help to defend a large area of South Korea from an attack by the North.