N. Korea claims successful launch of mid-range ballistic missile

TOKYO, June 23 (KUNA) — North Korea on Thursday claimed it has successfully conducted test-firing of an intermediate-range ballistic missile, and vowed to strengthen its nuclear attack capacity.
“The test-fire was successfully conducted without giving any slightest effect to the security of surrounding countries,” the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported, adding that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un supervised the test.
“We have the sure capability to attack in an overall and practical way the Americans in the Pacific operation theatre,” Kim was quoted as saying. “The current test-fire marked an important occasion in further strengthening the nuclear attack capacity of our state,” Kim said. He also noted Pyongyang needs to increase “nuclear attack capability and continue the study and development of diverse strategic attack weapons.” The reports came a day after North launched two ballistic missiles, both believed to be Musudan intermediate-range missiles, also known as Hwasong-10, from its east coast.
The first missile launch is presumed to have ended in failure, but the second missile reportedly flew some 400 km, reaching an altitude of up to 1,000 km, suggesting that the nation has made certain technical progress on the missile, Japanese and South Korean military officials said.
With an estimated range of some 3,000 to 4,000 km, the Musudan missile could theoretically reach any target in Japan and strike as far away as the US territory of Guam. (end) mk.rk