NORTH Korea has boasted of test-firing a “newly developed super-large multiple rocket launcher”.
A proud Kim Jong-un praised the rocket launcher as “indeed a great weapon,” reports the country’s state media.
North Korea said today that its leader supervised the firing of the “super-large multiple rocket launcher” – in yet another demonstration of its expanding weapons arsenal.
The North’s official Korean Central News Agency, or KCNA, described Saturday’s weapons test as successful.
The agency said that Jong-un was “continuing to step up the development of Korean-style strategic and tactical weapons for resolutely frustrating the ever-mounting military threats and pressure offensive of the hostile forces”, in an apparent dig at the US and South Korea.
Some experts told news agency the Associated Press that North Korea aims to show off its weapons to try to get an upper hand ahead of a possible restart of nuclear negotiations.
Talks between Jong-un and US President Donald Trump have largely stalemated since the pair’s summit in Vietnam in February fell apart due to squabbling over American-led sanctions on North Korea.
Also, Jong-un is still fuming over recent joint military drills carried out by the US and South Korea, which he slammed as an invasion rehearsal.
He’s conducted a raft of missile and rocket tests in response.
South Korea’s military said North Korea fired two suspected short-range ballistic missiles off its east coast on Saturday morning, and that they flew about 380km (236 miles) at a maximum altitude of 97km (60 miles).
It was the seventh known weapons test by North Korea in about a month.
The country has been pushing to develop powerful multiple rocket launch systems, whose projectiles resemble short-range missiles, some experts have said.
On August 1, North Korea said it tested a large-calibre multiple rocket guided system, a day after South Korea said the North fired two short-range ballistic missiles.
Most of the North Korean weapons tested in recent weeks have shown short-range flight distances.
Photos released by KNCA of Saturday’s firing showed rockets launching from large tubes mounted on the back of an eight-wheel vehicle, reports news agency Reuters.
Jong-un said that North Korea’s young defence scientists who developed his missiles were a “precious treasure and wealth of the country which cannot be bartered for anything”.
And a KCNA commentary said the country “will never barter the strategic security of the country for the sanctions relief”.
Analysts said it appeared to be at least the fourth new missile system unveiled by North Korea since denuclearisation talks stalled.
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Asked if he was concerned by the latest launches, Trump said, “I’m not happy about it, but again, he’s not in violation of an agreement.”
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the launches breached UN resolutions.
The ongoing testing has complicated attempts to restart talks between America and North Korean negotiators over the future of Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programmes.