Tension rises in Korea peninsula as North, South trade missiles

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North and South Korea on Wednesday test-launched ballistic missiles hours apart from each other in a display of military might.

The moves came amidst a failed diplomatic push to strip North Korea of its nuclear program by rival South and its European and Asian allies.

South Korea’s presidential office said it conducted its first underwater ballistic missile test on Wednesday afternoon while the North followed suit hours later.

Seoul added that a domestically-built missile fired from a 3,000-ton-class submarine flew over a set distance before hitting a designated target.

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North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un, in a statement, criticized his South Korean counterpart and threatened a “complete destruction” of bilateral relations.

In a statement carried by state media, Kim slammed Moon Jae-in for describing North Korean weapons demonstrations as a provocation, and warned of a “complete destruction” of bilateral relations if he continues with the slander of North Korea.

The missile launch underscored a return of tensions between the rivals at a time when talks aimed at stripping North Korea of its nuclear program had stalled.