South Korea on Thursday blasted North Korea's recent firings of short-range missiles and rocket-propelled projectiles as a violation of resolutions adopted at the U.N. Security Council.
"North Korea's provocative military acts are a clear violation of the U.N. resolutions that ban any firing using ballistic missile technology," South Korea's Defense Ministry spokesman Kim Min Seok told a news briefing.
Kim also criticized the North for not having issued a prior warning to ensure safe operation of aircraft and ships nearby, saying it ignored international navigation protocol and "posed serious threats to the safety of civilians."
His remarks came a day after a North Korean military spokesman was reported by that country's official Korean Central News Agency to have called the firings an "act of self-defense" based on "normal exercise plans."
A Chinese airliner carrying more than 200 people flew in the vicinity of the trajectory of rocket-propelled projectiles that North Korea fired Tuesday, a South Korean Defense Ministry spokesman said Wednesday.
The Chinese aircraft, which took off from Japan's Narita airport, was en route to Shenyang in northern China when North Korea fired four long-range projectiles toward the Sea of Japan, the spokesman said.
North Korea did not give advance notice to neighboring countries about the rocket firings nor did it set up a no-fly zone in the area, according to South Korean and Japanese government officials.
It fired rocket-propelled projectiles or short-range missiles into the Sea of Japan on three days between Feb. 21 and March 4, apparently as a gesture of defiance against a joint U.S.-South Korean military exercise that began on Feb. 24 and are continuing.