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Report: North Korea tested anti-ship cruise missile in July

North Korea has not publicly tested weapons but fired an anti-ship cruise missile in July during training, according to a South Korean press report. File Photo by KCNA/EPA-EFE
North Korea has not publicly tested weapons but fired an anti-ship cruise missile in July during training, according to a South Korean press report. File Photo by KCNA/EPA-EFE

July 30 (UPI) -- North Korea tested an anti-ship cruise missile earlier in July but the South Korean military says it was part of "regular training."

A South Korean military official said Thursday North Korea fired the missile on July 6, from the country's eastern coast, in South Hamgyong Province, Yonhap reported.

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The missile traveled about 60 miles before dropping into the sea, the report says.

South Korea's joint chiefs of staff typically disclose information about North Korean weapons tests immediately after launch, but may have kept the information from the public in early July.

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North Korea's anti-ship cruise missiles are not prohibited under sanctions. Seoul evaluates the test as a non-provocation that was part of regular summer exercises, according to Yonhap.

In April, North Korea may have fired the Kumsong-3, a surface-to-air cruise missile. The test was made public in South Korea, but later reports revealed the type of missile that was launched, as well as the distance it traveled, were different from what was reported in the immediate aftermath.

South Korea's defense ministry had confirmed on Tuesday the North Korean military is conducting summer training but did not provide details on a missile test.

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North Korea state media has not broadcast information on any July cruise missile test. An official with South Korea's joint chiefs of staff who spoke on the condition of anonymity said the United States and South Korea are "working closely" in monitoring North Korean developments. South Korea's military is maintaining readiness, Yonhap's source said.

Revelations about the previously undisclosed test comes at a time when analysts, including former White House national security adviser John Bolton, are suggesting U.S. President Donald Trump could be preparing to deliver an "October surprise" ahead of the presidential election in November. A North Korea summit cannot be ruled out, they say.

Bolton said in a recent editorial in the New York Daily News that Trump's "transactional" approach to foreign policy "will almost certainly re-emerge."

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"Can anyone doubt that this year's 'October surprise' might be a fourth Trump-Kim meeting?" Bolton wrote.

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