North Korea says it tested new anti-ship missile

"We assess that North Korea meant to show off its various missle capabilities, display its precise targeting capability, in the form of armed protests against ships in regard to U.S. Navy carrier strike groups and joint naval drills, "Roh Jae-cheon, a spokesperson for South Korea's Joint Chief of Staffs said on Friday".

North Korea confirmed on Friday that its Thursday missile launch was successful and was aimed at testing a new cruise anti-ship missile, the state KCNA news agency reported.

The claim indicates the regime has continued to advance its missile technology since its leader Kim Jong-un said during his annual address on January 1 that the regime was in the final stage of developing ICBM technology.

People sit in front of a TV screen showing a news program reporting about North Korea's missile firing, at Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, Thursday, June 8, 2017.

The North's missile tests present a hard challenge to new South Korean President Moon Jae-in, a liberal elected last month who has expressed a desire to reach out to Pyongyang.

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North Korea is convinced it can successfully carry out an ICBM launch and it would be a blow to the policies of the United States against Pyongyang, the official newspaper said.

In what will likely become another source of animosities, Moon's government said it will let two of the four North Korean fishermen recently rescued at sea resettle in the South in accordance with their wishes.

"This is a conversation that's taken place at the highest level".

The official said USA officials had been "in close contact with our ally South Korea" on the matter.

Seoul said it would delay the installation of remaining components of the THAAD anti-missile system until it completes an assessment of the system's environmental impact. That commitment remains ironclad.

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A greater concern, however, is that North Korea is attempting to produce an ICBM carrying a nuclear warhead that would threaten not merely Guam, but the mainland United States.

Thursday's missile test was its fourth in as many weeks.

"These are to demonstrate new capabilities, to suggest that they are advancing and covering new areas, but also to give Kim Jong Un some internal cover from the hits he's taking from the Security Council and elsewhere, from China in particular on their coal import cutoff, trying to demonstrate that Kim Jong Un is still a god, he's still very powerful and capable of doing important things", Bennett said.

South Korea's military spokesman, Roh Jae-cheon, said the launch was meant to show off Pyongyang's widening array of missiles and its "precision strike capabilities" against ships - in response to the recent joint drills conduct by his country and the United States.

Nike Ching at the State Department contributed to this article.

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