North Korea is planning to pursue strategic guided-missile tests, despite the international calls to limit its weapons program, Agence France-Presse reported Thursday citing a spokesman for the Korean People’s Army (KPA) Strategic Force.

“[North Korea] will continue to hold drills of launching high-precision tactical guided missiles,” AFP quoted a KPA Strategic Force’s spokesman as saying. He added that the tests were a “legitimate exercise” of sovereignty.

Over the past week Pyongyang has conducted a series of missile tests. The agency reports that the tests are largely explained by the two-day state visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to Seoul.

One of the issues on Xi Jinping’s agenda in Seoul is North Korea’s nuclear program, as well as strengthening of bilateral ties between China and South Korea, a bitter opponent to Pyongyang.

In March, North Korea test-fired two 1,000-kilometer range Rodong ballistic missiles, also known as No Dong, into the East Sea. Rodong missiles can be equipped with a nuclear warhead. The country’s authorities said the launches were their response to the US-South Korea joint military drills and mentioned that new nuclear tests could follow.

Last month, South Korean news agencies reported Pyongyang appeared to be gearing up for a fourth nuclear test, citing a significant increase in activity at North Korea’s Punggye-ri facility in the northeast of the country.


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