DEVELOPING: North Korea launched several ballistic missiles from its east coast Thursday, according to South Korea’s military.
“North Korea fired multiple unidentified projectiles, assumed to be surface-to-ship missiles, this morning from the vicinity of Wonsan, Gangwon Province,” the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said, according to to the Yonhap news agency.
North Korea conducted ballistic missile tests over three consecutive weekends in May going back to Mother’s Day, but last weekend there were no launches.
The remote country is on pace to break its record setting 2016 missile test-launch record.
The latest missile tests come as South Korea suspended its use of the American-based missile defense system THAAD.
The Terminal High-Altitude Defense System (THAAD) has already been in operation in southeastern South Korea, with two launchers and radar. The system typically has six launchers – four of which are in in South Korea, but have yet to be installed.
South Korea’s new President, Moon Jae-in, said his office was not briefed on the arrival of four new launchers and ordered an investigation. He also demanded an environmental assessment on the deployment site, saying the country’s Defense Ministry might be attempting to avoid an environmental inspection there.
Rep. Adam Smith, the top Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee, called South Korea’s decision “a blow to our national security interests.”
“I have not seen North Korea back down,” Smith said Wednesday. “If they get nuclear capable missiles, they will threaten and hold sway without being deterred.”
Fox News’ Lucas Tomlinson and Chad Pergram contributed to this report.