South Korea has successfully test-fired a domestically built ballistic missile that can hit all of North Korea, an official said, amid continuing animosity between the rivals over the North's push to bolster its nuclear and missile capabilities.
The missile, which had a reported range of more than 500 kilometers (300 miles), was fired from a southern launch pad, said an official at Seoul's Defense Ministry who spoke on condition of anonymity because of office rules. President Park Geun-hye watched the launch, according to her office.
At the same launch pad, South Korea tested another missile aimed at shooting down an enemy ballistic missile, the defense official said.
North Korea's worst human rights abuses
North Korea's worst human rights abuses
A UN report said that policies leading to mass starvation in North Korea amounted to crimes against humanity. Deaths peaked during the 1990s North Korean famine.
Defence minister Hyon Yong Chol is believed to be the latest official executed after falling foul of Kim Jong-un. As well as gruesome public executions, thousands of people have been killed in state 'purges' and for alleged anti-state crimes
Torture is prevalent in prison camps, as well as in police and security service custody.
4/11 Freedom of religion
American missionary Kenneth Bae was one of the many people detained after trying to practice their religion. The DPRK Constitution claims to protect freedom of religion but not if it as alleged of being used a a pretext for 'drawing in foreign forces or for harming the state and social order'. Christianity is frequently considered a political crime
5/11 Freedom of expression
All media is tightly-state controlled and expressing facts of opinions critical of the government or Juche ideology can lead to arrest and imprisonment. As well as being under extensive surveillance, people are encouraged to 'inform' on friends and neighbours
6/11 Freedom of thought
A UN report found that the 'DPRK operates an all-encompassing indoctrination machine which takes root from childhood to propagate an official personality cult and to manufacture absolute obedience to the Supreme Leader, effectively to the exclusion of any independent thought from the official ideology and state propaganda'
7/11 Forced labour
Prisoners are subjected to forced labour in camps, including children as young as five. Some workers are also reportedly being sent abroad to fund the government's projects
8/11 Sexual discrimination
Although women are permitted to serve in the military, their role is restrained by the Juche ideology and the UN reports that 'discrimination against women remains pervasive in all aspects of society'
9/11 Freedom of movement
Freedom of movement is severely restricted within North Korea and very few citizens are allowed to leave the country. Immigrants found in China can be forcible repatriated and punished on their return. The right for foreigners to enter is also severely restricted.
10/11 Prison camps
Many of the worst abuses reported take place at prison camps, some specifically for political crimes. The camps officially do not exist but have been photographed using satellite. Inmates are 'forcibly disappeared' and usually imprisoned until death
11/11 Reproductive rights
Forced abortions have been reported for imprisoned women, often after being raped by guards. Mothers and babies frequently die in childbirth because of a lack of adequate care, often delivering babies unaided at home.
There was no immediate response from North Korea, which is heavily sanctioned for its past long-range rocket and nuclear tests and considers U.S. and South Korean military drills a preparation for an attack.
South Korea struck a deal with the United States in 2012 that allows Seoul to possess longer-range missiles to better cope with North Korea's nuclear and missile threats.
The North's recent claim to have test-fired a missile from a submarine caused security worries among many South Koreans who suspect that Pyongyang is working on harder-to-detect means to launch attacks. The North also recently reiterated its claim that it had built a nuclear warhead small enough to be mounted on a long-range missile.
Foreign analysts are skeptical about both claims. But they agree that the country has made progress in its efforts to possess a nuclear-tipped missile that can threaten the U.S. and South Korea. International disarmament talks on the North's atomic weapons program remain stalled.
The 2012 U.S. deal allows South Korea to possess ballistic missiles with a range of up to 800 kilometers (500 miles). A previous 2001 accord with Washington had barred South Korea from deploying ballistic missiles with a range of more than 300 kilometers (186 miles) because of concerns about a regional arms race.
The Korean Peninsula remains officially at war because the 1950-53 Korean War ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty. The U.S. stations about 28,500 troops in South Korea as deterrence against possible aggression from North Korea.