North Korea tests the missile at an undisclosed location on Sunday. AP
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has observed the test firing of a new type of tactical guided weapon aimed at boosting the country's nuclear capabilities, the North's KCNA state news agency reported on Sunday.
The report comes amid signs North Korea could soon resume nuclear testing according to South Korean and US officials and after Kim broke a self-imposed moratorium on intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) testing with a launch last month.
The launch was the latest in an unprecedented blitz of sanctions-busting weapons-tests this year, which included firing an intercontinental ballistic missile at full range for the first time since 2017.
South Korea's military said on Sunday it had detected two projectiles launched on Saturday from the North's east coast towards the sea. The projectiles flew about 110 kilometres (68 miles) with an apogee of 25 kilometres and maximum speed of less than Mach 4, indicating they were short-range missiles.
It also came just ahead of US-South Korea military training exercises — which have always infuriated Pyongyang — that were due to begin on Monday.
The "new-type tactical guided weapon... is of great significance in drastically improving the firepower of the frontline long-range artillery units and enhancing the efficiency in the operation of tactical nukes," the North's official KCNA news agency reported.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un meets with military officers at an undisclosed location in North Korea. AP
The KCNA report gave no details on the launch but linked it to the North's nuclear objectives.
"The new-type tactical guided weapon system ... is of great significance in drastically improving the firepower of the frontline long-range artillery units and enhancing the efficiency in the operation of tactical nukes," KCNA said.
North Korea has been developing short-range ballistic missiles that analysts say are designed to evade missile defences and strike targets in the South in the event of a war.
It said the test was successful, but did not specify when or where it took place.
South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said it detected two projectiles fired late on Saturday, which flew 110 kilometres (68 miles) at an altitude of 25 kilometres, travelling at speeds of around Mach 4.
The United States was "aware of the North Korean statement that they conducted a test of a long range artillery system", a Pentagon spokesperson said, adding it was monitoring.
North Korea has fired its most powerful missile since 2017, marking a month-long blitz of launches that has raised the spectre of leader Kim Jong Un restarting nuclear tests. He wants to catapult his nuclear ambitions to centre stage. Pyongyang conducted
North Korea’s latest missile launch shows the country is no more serious about talks with US (“N.Korea’s latest short-range missile launch complicates US attempts for talks,” Aug.24, Gulf Today). The world is going through its most difficult times because now almost every country is believing that might is right
North Korea has said it is open to diplomacy, but that Washington's overtures are undermined by its support for sanctions and joint military drills and arms buildups in South Korea and the region.
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