North Korean leader Kim Jong Un oversaw tests of a new tactical guided weapon yesterday. This is the first such test in the reclusive nation since a summit with US President Donald Trump this February. State media Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) announced the tests took place on Wednesday but did not release weapons specifics. They revealed the missile was “tactical” with a “peculiar mode of guiding flight” and “a powerful warhead”.
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Wednesday’s testing is the most recent since a US-North Korea summit in February, in which Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un reached an impasse on denuclearising the Korean Peninsula.
The Hanoi meeting was the second of its kind and followed a separate June 12 summit in 2018.
Trump hailed the first meet a success, and declared North Korea was “no longer a nuclear threat”.
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The leaders signed a document which outlined their intentions going forward from the date.
This document affirmed North Korean intentions to “work towards” denuclearisation, and joint efforts with the US to establish peace along the Korean peninsula.
Kim Jong Un promised North Korea would halt nuclear and Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) tests with the capability to hit the US mainland.
However, he made no promise to stop testing weapons systems altogether.
A US official said initial information detected no missile launches from the country but confirmed further checks were underway.
This means tests were likely short-range and local to avoid international detection.
Kim Dong-Yub, a military expert at Kyungnam University’s Institute of Far Eastern Studies in Seoul, described the possible capabilities of the new system.
He said the description the tests were “conducted in various modes of firing at different targets” likely meant that it could be launched from the ground, sea and air.
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He continued: ”It’s highly likely that it’s a short-range cruise missile that can be transformed into a surface, an air-to-surface, an air-to-ship, a ship-to-ship, as well as a surface-to-surface cruise missile.”
Shin Jong-woo of the Seoul-based Korea Defense Security Forum, said it could be a ground-to-ground precision-guided weapon similar to Israel’s Spike anti-tank guided missile South Korea adopted in the early 2000s.
Short-range missile tests like this do not break the pact Jong Un made with Donald Trump last year.
North Korea conducted similar tests in November 2018, which state media said would protect North Korea like a “steel wall”.