North Korean leader Kim Jong Un oversaw the test firing of new “ultra-precision” guided missiles, according to the official Korean Central News Agency.
Kim gave the order to launch the missiles after acquainting himself with information about them at the monitoring post, KCNA said today. It didn’t say when Kim visited the missile base and where the post was located.
North Korea fired three projectiles off its east coast yesterday and they flew about 190 kilometers (118 miles), according to South Korea’s Defense Ministry.
“The guided missiles soared into the sky with a thunderous roar,” KCNA said. “The test-fire clearly proved that the tactical guided weapons didn’t have an inch of deviation in their scientific and technological performance.”
South Korea today downplayed the capabilities of the missiles. “From North Korea’s point of view, it may be a new weapon, but compared to the international trend, it’s already been developed,” Defense Ministry spokesman Kim Min Seok said at a briefing.
The North earlier this year fired almost 90 projectiles, including Scuds and Rodong missiles, over a period of four weeks and stepped up activity at its nuclear test site. On March 30 it said it may conduct a “new form” of nuclear test.
North Korea staged artillery drills near the western sea border with South Korea on April 29, according to South Korea’s defense ministry. Four days earlier, U.S. President Barack Obama on a visit to Seoul said he would consider delaying the handover to South Korea of wartime command of that country’s forces, citing the growing threat of a nuclear-armed North.
North Korea is banned from testing or developing ballistic missiles under sanctions imposed by the United Nations for its three nuclear tests since 2006. The country has 1.2 million troops and faces South Korea over one of the world’s heavily fortified borders after their 1950-53 war ended in a truce.
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