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North Korea 'tests cruise missile'

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Kim Jong-un was reportedly on-site to observe the "ultra-precision" rocket being fired

Kim Jong-un was reportedly on-site to observe the "ultra-precision" rocket being fired

Kim Jong-un was reportedly on-site to observe the "ultra-precision" rocket being fired

North Korea says it has test-fired a new anti-ship cruise missile, a move experts in Seoul see as an attempt to raise tensions ahead of joint military drills between the United States and South Korea.

The North's official Korean Central News Agency said leader Kim Jong Un was on-site to observe the "ultra-precision" rocket being fired from a naval vessel in an exercise conducted by the country's East Sea fleet.

The report did not mention the time or location of the exercise.

Yang Moo-jin, a professor at the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul, said North Korea was demonstrating its military capabilities ahead of next month's annual US-South Korean drills, which Pyongyang says are a rehearsal for an invasion.

The official Rodong Sinmun newspaper published front-page photos of Kim watching a missile being fired from a naval vessel, although the state media outlets did not mention the time or location of the exercise.

Yang Uk, a Seoul-based security expert and an adviser to South Korea's navy, said the North Korean missile looked similar to Russia's KH-35 anti-ship missile, which has a range of about 80-90 miles and is capable of travelling at high speeds while staying close to the sea's surface.

North Korea began importing KH-35 missiles in the mid-2000s and the test-firing suggests that the country has succeeded in producing missiles of similar design, Mr Yang said.

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Pyongyang told the US last month that it was willing to impose a temporary moratorium on its nuclear tests if Washington scraps the military drills with South Korea this year, but the allies refused.


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