North Korea has tested a new weapons system that could enhance the effectiveness of its tactical nuclear weapons, state media said Sunday.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has observed a test of a new tactical guided weapon, which will increase the firepower of long-range artillery and “enhance the mobility of DBRK’s tactical nuclear weapons (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) and enhance the diversification of their firearms.” The exact date was announced by KCNA.
KCNA added that the test was successful without specifying the exact date and location of the test shooting.
South Korean Armed Forces personnel said on Saturday that they had detected two missiles launched and that they were flying at a speed of 110 km / h at an altitude of 25 km / h at Mach 4 speeds.
For its part, a Pentagon spokesman said the United States was “aware” of North Korea’s announcement of the test and was monitoring the situation.
The KCNA news agency added that Kim had provided the military research team with “key guidelines for the continued development of defense capabilities and nuclear warfare forces.”
Photos published in the Rodang Chinmun newspaper showed a smiling Kim – surrounded by uniformed officers – cheering as she described what she described as a test firearm of a weapon.
Analysts argue that this weapon appeared to be a newer, but less important, short-range ballistic missile.
“It looks like North Korea’s first tactical nuclear weapons supply system,” said Angkit Panda, a senior colleague at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
“Testing of a tactical nuclear delivery device comes amid growing signs of major reconstruction work at the Punggye-ri nuclear test site in North Korea.”
On Friday, North Korea celebrated the birthday of Kim Il Sung, Kim’s grandfather, the founding president of North Korea, with a large public procession, fireworks and synchronized dance – but not a military parade as many spectators predicted.
South Korean and US researchers and officials believe a nuclear test is possible at this important annual event.
The anniversary comes three weeks after North Korea test-fired its largest intercontinental ballistic missile – Kim’s powerful weapon launched at full range for the first time since 2017.
The test marked the end of a long-distance and self-imposed ban on nuclear testing.
After Kim met with then-US President Donald Trump, long-range and nuclear weapons tests were halted.
North Korea could conduct its seventh nuclear test in the coming weeks, officials and analysts say.
Satellite images show signs of new activity in a tunnel at the Punggye-ri nuclear test site that North Korea claims was demolished in 2018, just before the first Trump-Kim summit.
North Korea has tested nuclear weapons six times since 2006 and in 2017 spoke of its latest and most powerful success – a hydrogen bomb with a yield of 250 kilotons.
Experts believe that with a new nuclear test, Pyongyang is trying to make smaller the nuclear weapons fitted to its intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs).
South Korean officials have said Pyongyang could hold a military parade or conduct a weapons test on or around April 25, the day the Korean People’s Army was established.
This coincides with the joint military exercise between Seoul and Washington, which is set to begin on Monday.
South Korea and the United States routinely hold military exercises, but Pyongyang continues to protest against these exercises, condemning preparations for war.