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North Korea launches missile from submarine, South Korea says

(CNN)North Korea fired what is believed to be a submarine-launched ballistic missile off the east coast of the Korean peninsula, the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff said Saturday.

The missile was fired at 6:30 p.m. Saturday (5:30 a.m. ET), South Korean officials said, and appears to have flown about 30 km (about 19 miles) -- well short of the 300 km (roughly 186 miles) that would be considered a successful test.

North Korean state news agency KCNA claimed the launch was successful, and said North Korean leader Kim Jong Un "guided on the spot the underwater test-fire of strategic submarine ballistic missile."

"At the observation post he was briefed on the plan for the test-fire and gave an order for it," KCNA reported. "As soon as the order was issued, the submarine submerged as low as the biggest depth of waters for launching and fired the ballistic missile. The test-fire was aimed to confirm the stability of the underwater ballistic launching system in the maximum depth of waters."

One U.S. official said Saturday the launch "was provocative but not a threat to the U.S. and the missile was fired away from South Korea and Japan." But another U.S. official noted that after previous launch attempts by Pyongyang that didn't appear to be successful, this one seems to have gone much better.

"North Korea's sub launch capability has gone from a joke to something very serious," this official said. "The U.S. is watching this very closely."

15 photos: North Korea's verbal volleys

July 2014: North Korea threatens to hit the White House and Pentagon with nuclear weapons. American "imperialists threaten our sovereignty and survival," North Korean officials reportedly said after the country accused the U.S. of increasing hostilities on the border with South Korea. "Our troops will fire our nuclear-armed rockets at the White House and the Pentagon -- the sources of all evil," North Korean Gen. Hwang Pyong-So said, according to The Telegraph.

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15 photos: North Korea's verbal volleys

March 2013: Angered by tougher U.N. sanctions and joint military exercises by the United States and South Korea, the Supreme Command of North Korea's military vowed to put "on highest alert" the country's "rocket units" that are assigned to strike "U.S. imperialist aggressor troops in the U.S. mainland and on Hawaii and Guam and other operational zone in the Pacific." Whether Pyongyang has the will to back up such doomsday talk is a perplexing question, but there is evidence that its know-how -- in terms of uranium enrichment, nuclear testing and missile technology -- is progressing.

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15 photos: North Korea's verbal volleys

February 2013: In a message to the United States and South Korea, North Korea vowed "miserable destruction" if "your side ignites a war of aggression by staging reckless joint military exercises."

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15 photos: North Korea's verbal volleys

June 2012: Once again, North Korea vowed to be "merciless" in its promised attack on the United States, this time threatening a "sacred war" as it aimed artillery at South Korean media groups. North Korea was mad that South Korean journalists had criticized Pyongyang children's festivals meant to foster allegiance to the Kim family.

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15 photos: North Korea's verbal volleys

April 2012: North Korea's state-run news agency reported that "the moment of explosion is approaching fast" and promised "merciless" strikes against the United States. "The U.S. had better ponder over the prevailing grave situation," it said. Later that month, Pyongyang launched a long-range rocket that broke apart and fell into the sea. The launch came during preparations for a grand party that celebrated the 100th anniversary of the birth of Kim Il Sung, the founder of North Korea.

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15 photos: North Korea's verbal volleys

November 2011: North Korea's military threatened to turn the capital of South Korea into a "sea of fire," according to South Korea's Yonhap News Agency.

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15 photos: North Korea's verbal volleys

2009: After the U.S. pledge to give nuclear defense to South Korea, Pyongyang threatened a "fire shower of nuclear retaliation."

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15 photos: North Korea's verbal volleys

2002: U.S. President George W. Bush includes North Korea in an "axis of evil" with Iran and Iraq, which North Korea brushes off as a "little short of a declaration of war." North Korea reportedly threatened to "wipe out the aggressors." That year, North Korea also threatened to kick out international inspectors who were in the country to monitor its compliance with global nuclear nonproliferation agreements.

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15 photos: North Korea's verbal volleys

North Korea has a history of using creative language to express loathing for its enemies. Here are some of the regime's more colorful threats against the West.

March 2016: North Korea warned it would make a "preemptive and offensive nuclear strike" in response tojoint U.S.-South Korean military exercises. Pyongyang issued a long statement promising that "time will prove how the crime-woven history of the U.S. imperialists who have grown corpulent through aggression and war will come to an end and how the Park Geun Hye group's disgraceful remaining days will meet a miserable doom as it is keen on the confrontation with the fellow countrymen in the north."

Source : http://edition.cnn.com/2016/04/23/asia/north-korea-launches-missile-from-submarine/index.html

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