N. Korea says it conducted long-range strike drills under oversight of leader Kim
NUR-SULTAN. KAZINFORM - North Korea has conducted long-range strike drills, state media reported Friday, a day after the communist state launched what were presumed to be two short-range missiles into the East Sea, Yonhap reports.
"At the command post, Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un learned about a plan of the strike drill of various long-range strike means and gave an order of start of the drill," the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said in English.
"The successful drill of deployment and strike designed to inspect the ability of rapid reaction of the defense units... showed the might of the units which were fully prepared to proficiently carry out any operation and combat," it added.
He also set forth "important tasks for further increasing the strike ability of the defense units," the KCNA said. It said the drills were conducted at "defence units of the Korean People's Army (KPA) in the forefront area and on the western front."
The KCNA did not elaborate on the "long-range strike means." But South Korea's military said the North is believed to have launched two short-range missiles from its northwestern region into the East Sea, which flew 420 kilometers and 270 km, respectively.
The U.S. confirmed that Thursday's launches were of ballistic missiles that flew more than 300 kilometers. Experts said that they appear to be identical to those the North fired last week. North Korea is banned by multiple U.N. resolutions from using ballistic missile technology.
On Saturday, North Korea launched a barrage of projectiles off its east coast, including what it claimed were newly developed "tactical guided weapons" in an apparent show of Pyongyang's frustration over the stalled nuclear talks.
Pyongyang said later that they were "routine" and "self-defensive" drills that were not intended as provocations.