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N. Korea testing newly developed missiles: Defense Ministry

All Headlines 17:26 June 28, 2007

SEOUL, June 28 (Yonhap) -- North Korea's recent missile launches are aimed at testing brand-new missiles, the Defense Ministry said Thursday.

"The missiles that North Korea recently test-fired into the East Sea and the West Sea are ground-to-ground and ground-to-ship missiles with a range of around 100 kilometers," the ministry said in a press release. "They have not been deployed, as they are still in the development stage."

The assessment came a day after the North reportedly launched three short-range ballistic missiles into the waters between the Korean Peninsula and Japan.

The North's missile test, the third in a month, drew strong condemnations from the United States and Japan.

"The U.S. is deeply troubled that North Korea has decided to launch these missiles during a delicate time in the six-party talks," National Security Council spokesman Gordon Johndroe said.

Some media reports have criticized the South Korean military for its apparent attempt to play down the significance of the missile launches.

Citing a report by a conservative lawmaker, the newspaper Munhwa Ilbo reported that the Defense Ministry deleted descriptions of the North's anti-ship missiles from its white paper.

The ministry has refuted this, saying it takes the communist nation's missile threats seriously.

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