North Korea said Wednesday its latest ballistic missile tests trialled detonation devices for possible nuclear strikes on US targets in South Korea and were personally monitored by supreme leader Kim Jong-Un.
Tuesday’s test firing of three missiles in violation of existing UN resolutions was seen as an angry reaction to the planned deployment of a US missile defence system in the South.
The launch of the two Scud missiles and one intermediate-range Rodong was condemned by the United States, Japan and South Korea, who vowed a collective diplomatic response.
The tests were ordered and monitored by Kim Jong-Un and the range of the missiles was limited to simulate pre-emptive attacks on South Korean ports and airfields hosting US military “hardware”, the North’s official KCNA news agency said.
The tests “examined the operational features of the detonating devices of nuclear warheads mounted on the ballistic rockets at the designated altitude over the target area,” it said.
According to the South Korean military, the two Scuds flew between 500 and 600 kilometres (310-370 miles) into the Sea of Japan, while the Rodong was fired about an hour later.
A photo from the test, published on the front page of the North Korean ruling party’s Rodong Sinmun newspaper, showed Kim sitting at a desk covered by a large map of the Korean peninsula.
The map was clearly marked with a possible missile flight path from the North to South’s southern coast, around the major ports of Ulsan and Busan.