North Korea conducts new ballistic missile test
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un watches the test of a new-type anti-aircraft guided weapon system organised by the Academy of National Defence Science in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency on May 28. Photograph: (Reuters)
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un supervised the test of a new ballistic missile controlled by a precision guidance system and ordered the development of more powerful strategic weapons, the North's official KCNA news agency reported on Tuesday.
The missile was equipped with an advanced automated pre-launch sequence compared to previous versions of the "Hwasong" rockets, KCNA said, indicating the North had launched a modified Scud-class missile, as South Korea's military said on Monday.
North Korea confirmed its test-firing of a precision-guided ballistic missile was "successful", the state-run news agency KCNA reported Tuesday, a day after the projectile landed in waters provocatively close to Japan.
"The ballistic rocket flew toward the east sky where the day broke and correctly hit a planned target point... after flying over the middle shooting range," the report said.
Since early last year, the North has been on a quick succession of missile-related activities, claiming major advances that outside experts and officials believe may be at least partially true but are difficult to verify independently.
Hwasong, or Mars, in Korean, is the North's name for its Scud-class ballistic missiles. The North's official media routinely report on missile launches on the following day.
The test was aimed at verifying a new type of precision guidance system and the reliability of a new mobile launch vehicle under different operational conditions, KCNA said.
The launch was aimed at testing a weapon "capable of making ultra-precision strike on the enemies' objects at any area", the North Korean report said.
"It also verified ultra-precision guidance correctness in the re-entry section," it said.
"Whenever news of our valuable victory is broadcast recently, the Yankees would be very much worried about it and the gangsters of the south Korean puppet army would be dispirited more and more," KCNA quoted Kim as saying.
"He expressed the conviction that it would make a greater leap forward in this spirit to send bigger 'gift package' to the Yankees" in retaliation for American military provocation, KCNA said.
Meanwhile, South Korea said it had conducted a joint drill with a US supersonic B-1B Lancer bomber after North Korea's state media earlier accused the United States of staging a drill to practise dropping nuclear bombs on the Korean peninsula.
Moon Sang-gyun, a spokesman for the South Korean defence ministry, said the exercise took place on Monday but declined to give further details.
Earlier on Tuesday, North Korea's state media said the B-1B bomber flew over South Korea to stage "a nuclear bomb dropping drill".
(WION with Agency inputs)