Published: Fri, November 16, 2018
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

Kim Jong Un tests Trump’s faith with new ‘tactical weapon’

Kim Jong Un tests Trump’s faith with new ‘tactical weapon’

It marked the first official report of a weapons test by North Korea in almost a year since it launched a delicate diplomacy with Washington over its nuclear and missile program.

The dictator visited the test ground at an undisclosed location described as the "Academy of Defence Science", Pyongyang's Korean Central News Agency said.

A meeting in NY planned this month between U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and North Korea's Kim Yong Chol, a senior aide to Kim, was postponed.

The 22-year-old was jailed in the North for more than a year and was released in a comatose state in 2017 but died shortly after returning home.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visited the test site of a new tactical weapon in his first such public inspection since previous year, hailing it as a "display of our rapidly-growing defense capabilities", state media said on Friday.

Earlier this month the allies resumed a small-scale amphibious drill, the Korea Marine Exercise Program, prompting criticism by the North's media.

The Korean Central Broadcasting Station said that Kim visited a testing site at a national defense institute and inspected the test of the unspecified new tactical weapon.

On his part, Lee noted that Singapore is the second-largest Asian investor in the U.S., with companies and investments in more than 30 American states, including Pence's home state of Indiana.

"It's North Korea-style coercive diplomacy".

'Generally, tests of new high-tech weapons are conducted in secret, ' Shin said.

The Winter Olympics in the South then triggered a rapid diplomatic rapprochement on the peninsula, heralding the Singapore meeting and three summits between Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

Even if the test was a message for Washington and Seoul, Friday's report from the North was noticeably less belligerent than past announcements of weapons tests, and did not focus on North Korean claims of United States and South Korean hostility. Yang said the latest North Korean test won't completely break down nuclear diplomacy, though more questions would be raised about how honest the North is about its commitment to denuclearization.

On Thursday, US Vice President Mike Pence said Mr Trump planned to meet Mr Kim again in 2019 and would push for a concrete plan outlining Pyongyang's moves to end its arms programs.

A year and a half ago, "nuclear tests were taking place, missiles were flying over Japan and there were threats and propagations against our nation and nations in the region", Pence said.

Mr Shin said the weapon North Korea tested could be a missile, artillery, an anti-air gun, a drone or other high-tech conventional weapons systems.

In the ASEAN chairman's statement issued after the summit on Monday, ASEAN leaders praised North Korea's commitment "to complete denuclearization and its pledge to refrain from further nuclear and missile tests". "We made great progress but there's more work to be done".

Mr Pence stressed that United Nations sanctions had to remain enforced.

Pyongyang has increasingly expressed frustrations at Washington's refusal to ease sanctions, and recently threatened to restart development of its nuclear weapons if more concessions were not made.

The news came nearly a year after Pyongyang's last test of an intercontinental ballistic missile and recalled the repeated announcements of 2017, which included by far its most powerful nuclear blast to date and rockets that brought the whole of the United States mainland into range.

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