North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has observed the test-firing of a new surface-to-ship cruise missile capable of precisely hitting its enemy's warships, Pyongyang's state media said Friday.
The country conducted the first test of the missile, which was unveiled at a military parade in April to mark the 105th birthday of late state founder Kim Il-sung, according to the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).
"This new-type cruise rocket is a powerful attack means capable of striking any enemy group of battleships attempting at military attack on the DPRK from the ground at will," it said in an English dispatch. The DPRK is the acronym of North Korea's full name -- the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
On Thursday, the North fired what appeared to be several short-range anti-ship cruise missiles from its east coast in the latest series of missile tests in defiance of international sanctions, according to the South Korean military. They flew some 200 kilometers.
The KCNA said that "the launched cruise rockets accurately detected and hit the floating targets" in the East Sea after making circular flights."
The move came as North Korea is seeking to diversify its nuclear weapons and missiles with its stated goal of launching a nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of hitting the U.S. mainland.
It marked the fifth missile test-fire by the North since liberal South Korean President Moon Jae-in took office May 10.
Pyongyang has recently launched different types of missiles, including a new intermediate-range ballistic missile and a surface-to-air missile.
The provocations are expected to dampen Moon's dual-track approach of denuclearizing North Korea while seeking inter-Korean dialogue. He hosted his first National Security Council meeting Thursday, warning that Seoul will never back down in the face of the North's provocations.
The latest test came about a week after the U.N. Security Council adopted a fresh sanctions resolution over its missiles. The North is banned from testing ballistic missiles under a set of U.N. sanctions.
The U.S. is stepping up efforts to muster international support for further putting pressure on North Korea.
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Tuesday that countries with any type of ties to North Korea should join Washington's efforts to put pressure on Pyongyang to make it give up its nuclear weapons.
The North's missile test came as the U.S. nuclear-powered submarine USS Cheyenne arrived in the South Korean southern port of Busan on Tuesday in a show of Washington's military power. (Yonhap)
Sean Kim email@example.com
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