North Korea on Friday commented on its Thursday test-launch of a new type of cruise missile, saying the weapon is capable of striking US and South Korean warships “at will.” The missiles are the fourth new missile system North Korea has disclosed and tested this year, sending a defiant message that it will continue to pursue a weapons program that has rattled its neighbors and Washington, the AP reports. “This new-type cruise rocket is a powerful attack means capable of striking any enemy group of battleships” attempting to attack North Korea and can be used “at will,” the North’s official Korean Central News Agency said.
It said that leader Kim Jong Un observed the launches and that the missiles “accurately detected and hit” floating targets at sea after making “circular flights.” The North’s claims could not be independently confirmed. North Korea didn’t say how many anti-ship missiles it launched, but South Korean national security director Chung Eui-yong said later Friday the North had fired four short-range missiles on Thursday. South Korea’s military said they were fired from the town of Wonsan and flew about 125 miles before splashing down between the Korean Peninsula and Japan. The launch came days after US aircraft carriers USS Carl Vinson and USS Ronald Reagan left those waters after joint exercises with the South Korean navy.