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S. Korea: N. Korea fires two short-range missiles

North Korea fired what is believed to be a submarine-launched ballistic missile off the east coast of the Korean peninsula, the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff said Saturday.

S. Korea: N. Korea fires two short-range missiles

The missile was fired at 6:30 p.m. Saturday (5:30 a.m. ET), South Korean officials said, and appears to have flown about 30 km (about 19 miles) -- well short of the 300 km (roughly 186 miles) that would be considered a successful test.

North Korean state news agency KCNA claimed the launch was successful, and said North Korean leader Kim Jong Un "guided on the spot the underwater test-fire of strategic submarine ballistic missile."

"At the observation post he was briefed on the plan for the test-fire and gave an order for it," KCNA reported. "As soon as the order was issued, the submarine submerged as low as the biggest depth of waters for launching and fired the ballistic missile. The test-fire was aimed to confirm the stability of the underwater ballistic launching system in the maximum depth of waters."

One U.S. official said Saturday the launch "was provocative but not a threat to the U.S. and the missile was fired away from South Korea and Japan." But another U.S. official noted that after previous launch attempts by Pyongyang that didn't appear to be successful, this one seems to have gone much better.

"North Korea's sub launch capability has gone from a joke to something very serious," this official said. "The U.S. is watching this very closely."



North Korea ballistic missiles South Korean
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