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(LEAD) N. Korean leader resumes military activity after eight days

All Headlines 11:00 April 02, 2016

(ATTN: UPDATES with Rodong Sinmun report, experts' view in last four paras; RECASTS lead)

SEOUL, April 2 (Yonhap) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un inspected the firing of a surface-to-air guided missile in his first military-related public activity in about eight days, state media said Saturday.

Kim was last seen visiting a military unit on March 25 to inspect a long-range artillery exercise. He has since been making field tours in the economic sector apparently to show that he cares about the livelihoods of ordinary people and the country's moribund economy.

Kim "guided the test of a new-type anti-air guided weapon system to estimate its feasibility," the North's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported without mentioning the date and location of the inspection.

South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said that the move appears to mention the North's test-firing of a surface-to-air missile into waters off its east coast, conducted on Friday.

The North fired off an anti-aircraft missile at around 12:45 p.m. from South Hamkyong Province in the country's northeastern area toward the East Sea, according to the JCS.

"The test verified that the feasibility of the new-type AA guided weapon system is perfect in the light of the latest military sci-tech requirements," it said, adding that the leader expressed great satisfaction over the "successful" test.

In another dispatch on Saturday, the KCNA said Kim inspected a machinery factory in Hamhung, North Hamkyong Province. It also did not give the date of the visit as it usually does.

Rodong Sinmun, an organ of the Workers' Party, also released 10 photos on the same day of Kim inspecting the missile test-fire. The Workers' Party is the North's only active political party while other parties exist only nominally.

Seen in the pictures were two trucks loaded with three large launching tubes. A guided rocket was launched from one of the trucks. Other images showed the rocket flying obliquely shortly after the launch and then turn vertical before striking the target in the air.

Military experts here say the tested missile is believed to be the North's KN-06 with a range of 100 to 150 km.

Pyongyang first unveiled the KN-06 system during a military parade to mark the 65th founding anniversary of the Workers' Party in October 2010. Experts presume that it is a copy of Russia's surface-to-air missile, S-300.
(END)

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