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North Korea tests new precision-guided missiles

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SEOUL (AP): North Korea said that leader Kim Jong Un has guided the test launches of its newly developed precision guided missiles, in a possible reference to three short-range projectiles South Korean officials say the North fired toward its waters a day earlier.

South Korean defence officials said the projectiles fired from an eastern port city on Friday flew about 190 kilometres before harmlessly landing into the waters off its east coast.

The exact type of those projectiles and the North's intentions were not immediately known.

The North's state media said today that the country tested what it calls "cutting-edge ultra-precision tactical guided missiles" and Kim watched the tests with top deputies and was satisfied with the results.

There is virtually no way to independently confirm whether North Korea has developed such high-tech missiles.

North Korea has frequently bluffed and exaggerated about its military capability, and its army, though one of the world's largest, is seen as running on outdated equipment and short supplies amid the nation's chronic economic problems, according to foreign analysts.

Still, the impoverished North devotes much of its scarce resources to its missile and nuclear programmes, which subsequently pose a serious threat to South Korea, Japan and tens of thousands of US troops in the region.

Outside analysts say North Korea has developed a handful of crude nuclear devices and is working toward building a warhead small enough to mount on a long-range missile, although most experts say that goal may take years to achieve.

The North didn't say when the latest launches took place or how many missiles were fired, but they are likely the projectiles that Seoul says North Korea fired on Friday as there have been no other such reported firings by North Korea in recent days.

South Korean Defence Ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok said on Friday that North Korea has been trying to upgrade its large-calibre multiple rocket launch systems in recent years and that those weapons' range has been slightly and gradually increased in each test-launch.

The North Korean media dispatch on Friday called the latest missile launches "significant" because they were made at a time when it is bolstering its national defence because the US and South Korea are "going extremely reckless in the moves to isolate and stifle (North Korea) and unleash a war of aggression."

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NKorea  Missile  Defence  
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