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(LEAD) N.K. leader observes missile launches, calls for stronger nuke forces

All Headlines 07:15 September 06, 2016

(ATTN: REWRITES headline; UPDATES with more info throughout)

SEOUL, Sept. 6 (Yonhap) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un observed the latest launch of ballistic missiles and stressed the need to bolster the country's nuclear forces, the state-run media said Tuesday.

The North's leader was present for the test-firing of ballistic rockets by artillery units of the Korean People's Army (KPA), according to the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

On Monday, North Korea test-fired three mid-range Rodong missiles toward Japan in an apparent show of force as the Group of 20 major economies summit meeting was held in China.

The launch also came four days before the 68th anniversary of the establishment of the North Korean regime.

The KCNA reported that Kim "stressed the need to continue making miraculous achievements in bolstering up the nuclear force" in its historic year that started with the country's test of a hydrogen bomb.

The artillery units of the KPA Strategic Force "demonstrated before the world their military might as a strong service capable of mounting a pre-emptive attack on the enemies any time and from any place," it reported.

North Korea has increased tests of ballistic missiles in violation of relevant U.N. Security Council resolutions banning North Korea's use of ballistic missile technology.

In late August, the North test-fired a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) that flew about 500 kilometers, the longest flight by such a missile launched by North Korea.

sooyeon@yna.co.kr
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