June 30, 2014 - 09:39 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - North Korea said Monday, June 30, that leader Kim Jong Un guided the test launches of tactical ballistic rockets aimed at U.S. and South Korean forces, the second such launch drill mentioned in state media in three days.
The latest launch likely refers to suspected Scud missile launches that Seoul officials say the North fired a day earlier, the Associated Press reports.
South Korean defense officials said the North launched two short-range missiles Sunday into waters off its east coast and that they were suspected to be Scud-type ballistic missiles. South Korea's military views the launches as provocative as they were made without designating a no-sail zone. The missiles flew about 500 kilometers (310 miles), according to South Korea's Defense Ministry.
On Monday, Pyongyang's official Korean Central News Agency said Kim guided the drills, which involved precision-guided missiles and shells, and that he expressed satisfaction over the results. It said the launches didn't cause any impact on international navigation or the environment.
South Korean Defense Ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok said Monday that it was difficult to conclude the purpose of Sunday's launches, though he said the launches Thursday appeared to be part of efforts to develop and upgrade large-caliber multiple rocket launch systems.
North Korea regularly test-fires missiles and artillery, both to refine its weapons and to express its anger over various developments in Seoul and Washington. North Korea has in recent days criticized alleged South Korean artillery firing drills near a disputed maritime boundary in the Yellow Sea that has been the scene of several bloody skirmishes between the rival nations in recent years.
The Korean Peninsula is still technically in a state of war because the 1950-53 Korean War ended with an armistice and not a peace treaty.