North Korean ruler Kim Jong Un has overseen the launch of strategic cruise missiles as part of a drill, state-controlled media reported on Monday.
Kim watched seamen staging the drill during a visit to a naval unit of the Korean People’s Army (KPA), the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said.
The launches from patrol ship were successful and were carried out without even an error, according to the report.
The test aimed at making “the seamen skilled at carrying out the attack mission in actual war’’.
South Korean Yonhap news agency said that South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff suggested many parts of the North’s announcement were exaggerated and different from facts.
Observers saw the test as a response to joint military exercises by South Korea and the United States, that were scheduled to kick off a major 11-day summer manoeuvre Monday.
The purpose of the exercises was to strengthen the alliance’s defence and response capabilities.
North Korea regularly accused the two countries of using their exercises to prepare for an attack something Seoul and Washington deny.
UN resolutions prohibit North Korea from testing ballistic missiles of any range, some of which were capable of carrying a nuclear warhead.
Tests of cruise missiles were not subjected to sanctions against Pyongyang.
Such weapons, however, can also be used to deliver nuclear warheads.
After an unprecedented series of missile tests last year, North Korea had again tested nuclear-capable missiles several times this year.
The U.S., President Joe Biden, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol agreed to significantly strengthen cooperation in the field of defence.
They all agreed to the cooperation at a tripartite summit on Friday at Camp David.
At a cabinet meeting in Seoul on Monday, President Yoon expressed his hope that trilateral cooperation would reduce “the risk of North Korean provocations’’. (dpa/NAN)