SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea said Monday 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 reported 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.
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.
KCNA didn't say when and where the training occurred. But the rockets the country said it fired were likely the suspected Scud missiles that South Korea says the North launched on Sunday as there were no other reported missile and rockets launches by the North on the day.
It's Kim's second reported inspection of firing drills in recent days. State media said Friday that Kim guided test launches of newly developed precision-guided missiles, in a likely reference to three short-range projectiles South Korean officials say the North fired a day earlier.
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.