North Korea's Kim Personally Oversaw Saturday's Test of 'New Weapon'

North Korea's Kim Personally Oversaw Saturday's Test of 'New Weapon'

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un inspected Saturday's test of a new weapon, state media KCNA said on Sunday, as a senior diplomat dismissed the possibility of inter-Korean talks in protest against South Korea-U.S. military drills.

If assessments are correct, North Korea in recent months has test-fired short-range ballistic missiles presumed to be KN-23s, a modified version of a Russian Iskander missile, a large-caliber multiple rocket launcher system and the new surface-to-surface missile. The projectiles were fired from the city of Hamhung and flew around 400 kilometres (249 miles) at a maximum altitude of 48 kilometres before falling into the Sea of Japan.

It was the fifth round of launches in two weeks, with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un labeling them a "solemn warning" over the joint US-South Korean military drills.

According to the KCNA, North Korean defence scientists created a "new weapon system" and upon receiving a report on it, Kim instructed the military to test it immediately.

It did not give further details on what type of weapon it was, only to state that the analysis of the test-fire result "proved that the new weapon system's advantageous and powerful demand of the design was perfectly met".

Trump said Saturday that Kim wrote in a "very lovely letter" that he wants "to meet and start negotiations as soon as" Seoul and Washington conclude the joint drill this month.

Even so, experts say the combination of North Korean military activities and US-South Korea military exercises could delay negotiations until later this year. Talks have stalled since the collapse of Trump s second summit with Kim in Vietnam in February over disagreements on exchanging sanctions relief and disarmament.

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North Korea in recent months has ignored the South s calls for dialogue while demanding that Seoul turn away from Washington and resume inter-Korean economic cooperation held back by US -led sanctions against the North.

Even the USA president made a remark which in effect recognizes the self-defensive rights of a sovereign state, saying that it is a small missile test which a lot of countries do.

North Korea calls such exercises a "rehearsal for war" and has countered them with its own military action.

But the North said that changing the name of the military exercise can not hide what it claimed is an "aggressive war game" against the regime.

By only firing short-range missiles, the North is displaying a threat to South Korea and USA bases in the region while maintaining Kim's promise not to test long-range missiles or nuclear weapons.

The North also on Saturday lashed out at South Korea s recent acquisition of USA -made F-35 fighter jets and other plans to expand its military capabilities, saying that the South will gain "nothing but destruction" if it pursues a contest of strength with the North.

He said called the offer "a small apology for testing the short range missiles, and that this testing would stop when the exercises end".