North Korea Test-Fires Ballistic Missile, Vows Bolstered Nuclear Force

North Korea on Saturday confirmed that it had test-fired a tactical ballistic missile.

Seoul:

North Korea on Saturday confirmed that it had test-fired a tactical ballistic missile, the government news agency KCNA reported, with leader Kim Jong Un vowing to boost the country’s nuclear force.

Kim oversaw the Friday test-launch into the East Sea, also known as the Sea of Japan, on a mission to evaluate the “accuracy and reliability” of a new autonomous navigation system, the KCNA report said.

Kim expressed “great satisfaction” over the test.

The South Korean government reported the launch Friday, saying the North had fired multiple suspected short-range ballistic missiles.

Seoul described the event as “several flying objects presumed to be short-range ballistic missiles” from North Korea’s eastern Wonsan area into waters off its coast.

The missiles travelled around 300 kilometres (186 miles), the Joint Chiefs of Staff in Seoul said, adding that the military had “strengthened vigilance and surveillance in preparation for additional launches” and was sharing information with allies Washington and Tokyo.

The launch was the latest in a string of ever more sophisticated tests by North Korea, which has fired off cruise missiles, tactical rockets and hypersonic weapons in recent months, in what the nuclear-armed country says is a drive to upgrade its defences.

Seoul and Washington have accused North Korea of sending arms to Russia, which would violate rafts of UN sanctions on both countries, with experts saying the recent spate of testing may be of weapons destined for use on battlefields in Ukraine.

The launches came hours after Kim’s sister Kim Yo Jong accused Seoul and Washington of “misleading the public opinion” on the issue with their repeated accusations that Pyongyang is sending weapons to Moscow for use in Ukraine.

The same day Kim visited a military production facility and called for “more rapidly bolstering the nuclear force… without halt and hesitation,” the KCNA report said Saturday.

“The enemies would be afraid of and dare not to play with fire only when they witness the nuclear combat posture of our state,” KCNA reported Kim as saying.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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Tyisha Drews