North Korea has said the anti-ship missiles it fired on Thursday (8 June), as the country's leader Kim Jong-un watched, were of a new kind. Pyongyang said the surface-to-ship cruise missiles succeeded in accurately striking intended targets.

South Korea and the US detected at least four short-range projectiles on Thursday from North Korea's east coast. The launches triggered strong responses from the North's rattled adversaries — Washington, Seoul and Tokyo.

Revealing details about the test-launch, Pyongyang's state-run mouthpiece Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said the missiles proved their mettle by precisely hitting enemy warships.

"This new-type cruise rocket is a powerful attack means capable of striking any enemy group of battleships attempting at a military attack on the DPRK [the Democratic People's Republic of Korea – North Korea's official name] from the ground at will," the KCNA said in its dispatch.

The missiles, which flew about 200km, "accurately detected and hit" floating targets in the waters of the East Sea after making "circular flights" the North added. The hermit kingdom's claims about the specifics of the launch are yet to be confirmed by either South Korean or American forces. The latest launch took place two days after US' supercarriers USS Carl Vinson and USS Ronald Reagan departed those waters after conducting maritime drills.

The projectiles are North Korea's fourth new missile system introduced in 2017 alone, Pyongyang said, hailing the country's ability to improve its weapons arsenal. The latest event also marks the country's race towards acquiring a variety of missiles – including intermediate-range and ground-to-air projectiles.

North Korea missile launch
A South Korean soldier walks past a TV broadcast of a news report on North Korea firing what appeared to be several land-to-ship missiles off its east coast, at a railway station in Seoul, South Korea Kim Hong-Ji/Reuters