Pyongyang: North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has supervised the test-firing of a new tactical guided weapon, calling its development an “event of very weighty significance” in beefing up its military power, state media reported on Thursday.
The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said the test took place on Wednesday but did not specify what the newly developed weapon was, reports Yonhap News Agency.
It was the first time since November 2018 that the North’s leader oversaw a weapons testing, and the visit to the testing centre came a day after he visited an air force unit.
“The development and completion of this weapons system will be a great historic event in strengthening the combat capability of the People’s Army,” the KCNA quoted Kim as saying.
“I was often completely moved in admiration at the time of strategic weapons development but seeing this it seems our scientists, engineers and the labour class is truly great. If they are willing then no weapon is beyond creation.”
The report said the North Korean leader “climbed the observation post to observe the new tactical guided weapons firing test plan and gave directions”.
Kim also set the “phased and strategic goals” for maintaining the country’s munitions production, putting national defence science and technology on a “cutting edge level”, and ordering “detailed tasks and ways to attain them”.
Meanwhile, no missile launch was detected by US Northern Command and Strategic Command, according to US Department of Defence officials.
Experts have said that the new weapon could be a newly developed short-range guided or cruise missile.
They also said that Kim’s attendance at the test-firing could be aimed at sending a warning message to the US without becoming overly provocative.
The test-firing came after Kim suggested a year-end deadline for denuclearization negotiations following the breakdown of his February summit with US President Donald Trump in Vietnam.
February’s summit fell apart as the two leaders failed to find common ground over how to match Pyongyang’s denuclearization steps with Washington’s sanctions relief.