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N Korea test-fires underwater ballistic missile: state media

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SEOUL (AFP): North Korea has successfully test-fired a newly developed underwater ballistic missile which it describes as a "world level strategic weapon", the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported early on Saturday.

Leader Kim Jong-Un gave the order to test-fire the missile and watched as it was launched from an attack submarine, the news agency said.

"There took place an underwater test-fire of Korean-style powerful strategic submarine ballistic missile," KCNA said.

"The ballistic missile was developed on the personal initiative of Supreme Commander of the Korean People's Army Kim Jong-Un."

It described the weapon as meeting the latest military science and technology requirements, calling the test an "eye-opening success" on par with a satellite launch.

"The acquisition of the technology... made it possible for the KPA (Korean People's Army) to possess a world-level strategic weapon capable of striking and wiping out in any waters the hostile forces infringing upon the sovereignty and dignity of Songun Korea and conduct any underwater operation," it said.

It came after Pyongyang on Friday slammed US allegations that its space research is essentially a disguised ballistic missile programme, and vowed to send more satellites into orbit in defiance of UN sanctions.

There is little doubt that North Korea has an active ballistic missile development programme, but expert opinion has been split on just how much progress it has made.

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