Seoul: North Korea fired three short-range
missiles this week in an apparent routine test of its
technology, a South Korean official said today.
The North fired the KN-02 missiles, which are usually
deployed against ground targets and have a range of about 120
kilometres, into its eastern waters on Wednesday, a Defence
Ministry official said, speaking on condition of anonymity
because of ministry policy.
Japan`s Sankei Shimbun newspaper first reported the
North Korea regularly conducts short-range missile tests,
but the latest came as it tries to consolidate new leader Kim
Jong Un`s grip on power after his father Kim Jong Il`s death
on December 17.
North Korea has made it clear that it will continue Kim
Jong Il`s "songun," or military-first, policy under the
leadership of Kim Jong Un, and a steady stream of propaganda
has sought to portray the young leader as a confident military
There has been uneasiness about his rise among the
North`s neighbours and in Washington.
North Korea conducted a short-range missile test hours
after it announced Kim`s death on December 19.
Wednesday`s tests were seen as part of the North`s
attempts in recent years to improve the range and accuracy of
its short-range missiles.
"If the North wanted to send a message, it would have
fired a greater number of longer-range missiles," said Kim
Jin-moo, a North Korea expert at the Korea Institute for
Defence Analyses in South Korea.