Kim Jong Un has overseen the test-firing of what North Korea has called a “newly developed super-large multiple rocket launcher”.
The weapons test was successful and the leader said the launcher was “indeed a great weapon”, according to the country’s Central News Agency.
Photos released by state media showed rockets launching from large tubes mounted on the back of an eight-wheel vehicle.
Image: South Korea’s military said the North fired two suspected short-range ballistic missiles off its east coast
South Korea’s military said the North fired two suspected short-range ballistic missiles off its east coast and they flew for 236 miles (380km) at a maximum height of 60 miles (97km).
It was the seventh known weapons test in about a month.
And analysts said it appeared to be at least the fourth new missile system unveiled by Pyongyang since denuclearisation talks stalled at a February summit in Vietnam between Mr Kim and US President Donald Trump.
The head of the secretive state said on Saturday his country must step up the development of new strategic and tactical weapons to combat “ever-mounting military threats and pressure offensive of the hostile forces”.
More from Kim Jong Un
The “hostile forces” are thought to refer to the US and South Korea – two countries which recently carried out annual military drills that infuriated Pyongyang.
The North has called the drills a rehearsal for an invasion and has hit back by conducting a number of missile and rocket tests.
Mr Kim also claimed the country’s young defence scientists who developed the missiles are a “precious treasure and wealth of the country which cannot be bartered for anything”.
Image: Kim Jong Un oversaw the military test
Image: The leader said the launcher was “a great weapon”
Experts have said North Korea is showing off its weapons to try to get an upper hand before a possible restart of negotiations with the US over Pyongyang’s controversial nuclear weapons programme.
Mr Kim and Mr Trump met at the Korean border in late June and agreed to resume talks.
The president played down the latest launch, saying: “Kim Jong Un has been, you know, pretty straight with me… He likes testing missiles but we never restricted short-range missiles. We’ll see what happens.”
June 2019: Trump and Kim meet at Korean border
Meanwhile, South Korea’s military has begun two days of drills around a group of islets that are also claimed by Japan.
The action sparked a protest from Tokyo just days after Seoul scrapped an intelligence-sharing pact with its neighbour amid worsening relations.
The two countries have long argued over the sovereignty of the islets, called Takeshima in Japanese and Dokdo in Korean, which are located halfway between the countries in the Sea of Japan, also known as the East Sea.
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Source : Sky News