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North Korea fires suspected cruise missiles after USA drills

19 June 2017

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un supervised the test launch of a new type of anti-ship cruise missile that can accurately hit targets such as an enemy battleship, the country's official KCNA news agency reported yesterday.

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - North Korea said Friday it has test-launched a new type of cruise missile capable of striking USA and South Korean warships "at will", as South Korea found a suspected North Korean drone near the tense border between the rivals.

People watch a TV news program showing a file footage of a missile launched by North Korea, at Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, Thursday, June 8, 2017.

The North has carried out two atomic tests and dozens of missile launches since the beginning of previous year in its quest to develop a missile capable of delivering a nuclear warhead to the continental United States - something President Trump has vowed "won't happen".

According to USA Today, the launch marked the fourth new missile system introduced and successfully tested this year alone.

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North Korea claims it has developed an anti-ship missile ready to be used for armed engagement at any time and "at will", Sputnik reported.

North Korea unveiled a number of new weapons at a massive military parade on April 15 to mark the anniversary of the birth of the state's founding leader, and has since tested some of them.

The projectiles were fired from the North Korean eastern coastal town of Wonsan and likely flew about 200 kilometers (about 125 miles) while reaching a maximum altitude of about 2 kilometers (1.2 miles), South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said.

"We assess that North Korea meant to show off its various missle capabilities, display its precise targeting capability, in the form of armed protests against ships in regard to U.S. Navy carrier strike groups and joint naval drills, "Roh Jae-cheon, a spokesperson for South Korea's Joint Chief of Staffs said on Friday".

"Our position remains unchanged that the current severance in inter-Korean relations is not desirable in ensuring stability on the peninsula, so that we will continue approving civilian exchanges within the extent that does not damage the sanctions framework", deputy ministry spokesperson Lee Yoo-jin said at a regular news briefing.

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(Stand-up) "North Korea's nuclear and missile threats have become imminent". The North said its test was a success.

According to Pyongyang, the launch was a test of this new ship-killing missile.

"The series of recent strategic weapons tests show that we are not too far away from test-firing an intercontinental ballistic missile", the Rodong Sinmun, the official paper of the ruling party, said.

Kim Jong-un was in attendance at the launch.

The launch comes less than a week after the United Nations expanded sanctions against Kim Jong-un's regime.

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North Korea has completed two atomic tests and dozens of launches since the beginning of 2016.