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(LEAD) N.K. calls SLBM launch success, boasts of nuke attack capacity

All Headlines 07:29 August 25, 2016

(ATTN: RECASTS headline, lead; ADDS more info throughout)

SEOUL, Aug. 25 (Yonhap) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has called the North's launch of a ballistic missile from a submarine "the greatest success," saying his country has full capacity to carry out nuclear attacks, Pyongyang's state media said Thursday.

The North's leader observed the launch of the submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) Wednesday, saying it was the greatest success and victory, according to the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

Kim said the results of the test-fire showed North Korea "joined the front rank of the military powers fully equipped with nuclear attack capability," the KCNA reported.

The South Korean military said the missile flew about 500 kilometers toward Japan, making the longest flight by such a missile for the North.

The missile, launched at a high angle, could have flown more than 1,000 km if it was fired off at a regular angle, and is seen as an indication of the advances made in the North's missile program.

The KCNA said the test-fire was conducted under a high-angle fire system using a solid fuel engine. It claimed the latest launch proved the reliability and accuracy of its missile program.

On Monday, Seoul and Washington kicked off their annual joint military drill, which Pyongyang has long denounced as a rehearsal for northern invasion.

The KCNA said the North's leader stressed the need to put increased spurs to mounting nuclear warheads on ballistic missiles in order to cope with nuclear war threats coming from the United States.

sooyeon@yna.co.kr
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