Kim Jong-un observes North Korean testing of new ‘hi-tech tactical weapon’, state media says
- The type of weapon supposedly involved in the test was not described, although Kim Jong-un called it a ‘groundbreaking’ development
- Development of the new weapon system was said to have begun under late leader Kim Jong-il
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has supervised the testing of a “hi-tech” new weapon, Pyongyang’s state media reported Friday according to Yonhap news agency.
“Kim Jong-un inspected the testing of a newly developed hi-tech tactical weapon at the Academy of National Defence Science,” Yonhap cited the North’s state broadcaster, Korea Central Broadcasting Station, as saying.
It said the test was successful but did not specify the type of device involved.
The “hi-tech tactical weapon” had been developed over a long period and “builds impregnable defences of our country and strengthens the fighting power of our people’s army”, it added.
“The state-of-the art weapon that has been long developed under the leadership of our party’s dynamic leadership has a meaning of completely safeguarding our territory and significantly improving the combat power of our people’s army,” Yonhap cited KCBS as reporting.
State news agency KCNA quoted Kim as saying the newly developed tactical weapon was “groundbreaking”.
“This result today is a justification of the party’s policy focused on defence science and technology, another display of our rapidly-growing defence capabilities to the whole region, and a groundbreaking change in strengthening our military’s combat capabilities,” Kim reportedly said.
Kim reportedly said that the new weapons system was one that his father, Kim Jong-il, was especially interested in during his lifetime, having led the development personally.
Pyongyang’s suspension of nuclear weapon and ballistic missile tests has been key to this year’s rapid diplomatic developments and North Korean-US negotiations, and has been repeatedly praised by US President Donald Trump.
Trump and Kim met in a historic summit in Singapore in June, where they signed a vaguely-worded document on denuclearisation of the peninsula.
Progress has since stalled as Washington and Pyongyang spar over the meaning of the document, and a return to testing would cast grave doubts over the future of the process.
“That pit of dread you felt in your stomach when you read this is your reminder that the DPRK missile test pause is voluntary, partial, and can fail without notice if it isn’t explicitly codified,” Adam Mount of the Federation of American Scientists tweeted in response to the report, using the country’s official acronym.
North Korea has not tested a nuclear weapon or ballistic missile since last year. In public Kim has focused almost entirely on visits to economic rather than military projects.
Additional reporting by Reuters