North Korea said Saturday that it successfully test-fired a newly developed ballistic missile from a submarine in what would be the latest display of the country's advancing military capabilities.
Hours after the announcement, South Korean officials said the North fired three anti-ship cruise missiles into the sea off its east coast.
Experts in Seoul say the North's military demonstrations and hostile rhetoric are attempts at wresting concessions from the United States and South Korea, whose officials have recently talked about the possibility of holding preliminary talks with the North to test its commitment to denuclearization.
North Korea said for the second straight day that it would fire without warning at South Korean naval vessels that it claims have been violating its territorial waters off the western coast of the Korean Peninsula. South Korea's presidential Blue House held an emergency national security council meeting to review the threat and discuss possible countermeasures.
"By raising tensions, North Korea is trying to ensure that it will be able to drive whatever future talks with the U.S. and South Korea," said Yang Moo-jin, a professor from the Seoul-based University of North Korean Studies.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un personally directed the submarine test launching and called the missile a "world-level strategic weapon" and an "eye-opening success," said the North's official Korean Central News Agency, or KCNA. The report did not reveal the timing or location of the launch.
Kim declared that North Korea now has a weapon capable of "striking and wiping out in any waters the hostile forces infringing upon the sovereignty and dignity of (North Korea)."
The North's state-run Rodong Sinmun newspaper published photos of a projectile rising from the sea's surface and Kim smiling from a distance at what looked like a floating submarine.
— The Associated Press