North Korean people watching missile launch news 260719 CREDIT KCNA.jpg
North Korea

Missile Test Was A 'Solemn Warning', North Korea Says

The tests were a warning to South Korea's weapons development and plans to hold military exercises, according to North Korean state media.

North Korean people watching missile launch news 260719 CREDIT KCNA.jpg

(Picture: KCNA).

Thursday's test of a new-type tactical guided weapon was meant to be a "solemn warning" over South Korean weapons development and plans to hold military exercises, according to North Korean state media.

The statement came on Friday, a day after two North Korean missiles were fired from Wonsan, on the country's eastern coast, into the sea.

South Korea's military said that the flight data of the weapon launched on Thursday showed similarities to the Russian-made Iskander, a short-range, nuclear-capable missile.

A North Korean version would be likely to reach all of South Korea and the 28,500 US forces stationed there and would be extremely hard to intercept.

After watching the weapons' launches, Mr Kim said they are "hard to intercept" because of the "low-altitude gliding and leaping flight orbit of the tactical guided missile," according to the Korean Central News Agency.

He was quoted as saying the possession of "such a state-of-the-art weaponry system" is of "huge eventful significance" in bolstering his country's armed forces and guaranteeing national security.

The North Korean statement was carried in state media and directed at "South Korean military warmongers".

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The missile launches were reported by South Korean media on Thursday (Picture: KCNA).

US and North Korean officials are currently struggling to set up talks after a recent meeting on the Korean border between the North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un and US President Donald Trump.

The statement made clear that North Korea is infuriated over Seoul's purchase of US-made high-tech fighter jets and US-South Korean plans to hold military drills this summer.

The North has said rehearsals for an invasion are proof of the allies' hostility to Pyongyang.

The launches were the first known weapons tests by North Korea in more than two months. When North Korea fired three missiles into the sea in early May, many outside experts also said at the time those weapons strongly resembled the Iskander.

South Korea's Unification Ministry on Friday described the launches as "acts of provocation" that are "not helpful to an efforts to alleviate military tensions on the Korean Peninsula".

In Washington, State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus urged "no more provocations," saying the US is committed to diplomatic engagement with North Korea.

Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un in North Korea
The North Korean Leader and the US President met at the DMZ last month (Picture: YONHAP/PA).

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo played down Thursday's launches and said in an interview that working-level talks with North Korea could start "in a couple [of] weeks".

The North Korean message on Friday said the test "must have given uneasiness and agony to some targeted forces enough as it intended".

It also accused South Korea of introducing "ultramodern offensive weapons", likely a reference to South Korea's purchase and ongoing deployment of US-made F-35 fighter jets.

Earlier this month, North Korea said it would develop and test "special weapons" to destroy the aircraft.

In its biggest weapons purchase, South Korea is to buy 40 F-35 fighter jets from Lockheed Martin by 2021. The first two arrived in March and two others are to be delivered in coming weeks.

North Korea is banned by UN Security Council resolutions from engaging in any launch using ballistic technology.

While the North could face international condemnation over the latest launches, it is unlikely that the nation, already under 11 rounds of UN sanctions, will be hit with fresh punitive measures.

The UN Security Council has typically imposed new sanctions only when the North conducted long-range ballistic launches.