On Thursday, North Korea launched four anti-ship missiles east of the Korean Peninsula. The South Korean military said that the strike was meant to showcase both accuracy and capability. According to South Korea's joint chiefs, the missiles launched close to the eastern port city of Wonsan were suspected to be surface-to-ship voyage missiles.

North Korea's military capability

“We evaluate that Pyongyang intended to display its various missile capabilities, show its accurate targeting capability, in a way that seems like armed protests against water-borne vessels in respect to US Navy airship strike groups and joint military exercises,” Said Jae-Cheon, the spokesman for the Joint Chiefs of Staffs of South Korea.

North Korea has test-fired 16 nuclear missiles in 10 different tests so far, and Thursday’s latest was the fourth since the assumption of office in May by new South Korean President Moon Jae-in and the sixth test since April (when this year's experiments started).

Experts say each launch whether successful or unsuccessful enhances missile technology and eventually gives details that help bring Pyongyang closer to its ultimate goal of developing a nuclear weapon capable of hitting the US.

Challenges before New South Korean President

The test comes a day after Moon’s new government announced the suspension of the controversial US THAAD missile defense system, which has worsened ties with China and provoked North Korea.

South Korea’s military said the missile flew around 200 kilometers, approximately 124 miles. The statement added that US military was conducting a comprehensive analysis.

“Our military has increased surveillance and alertness in readiness of more provocation by North Korea military and is sustaining all preparedness posture while we are trailing and observing identical instances,” according to the statement.

International reaction

A US military official confirmed a test had been detected but told reporters the Pentagon may not release a statement to that effect as these were not ballistic or nuclear missiles capable of posing a warhead threat.

On Thursday, North Korea warned Japan not to play gamble on its destiny, according to the North’s state media.

“If Japan is worried about its security, it should not be used as a poodle of the US but retract its unfriendly policy toward North Korea and expel the US aggressive military base from its territory,” the statement read.

Fumio Kishida Japanese Foreign Minister criticized Pyongyang’s latest missile test while speaking in an interview. “These provocative acts are not tolerable”, he stated. Anti-Ship Missiles South Korean President