North Korea confirmed on Sunday that the country’s leader Kim Jong-un had supervised the test-firing of a “newly developed super-large multiple rocket launcher,” a move that is likely aimed at increasing leverage prior to continuing nuclear talks with the United States.
North Korea’s state-run KCNA noted that the test was successful, citing the chairman as saying that the multiple-rocket launcher was “indeed a great weapon.” The country’s Central News Agency added that Kim had pointed to the need to “continue to step up the development of Korean-style strategic and tactical weapons for resolutely frustrating the ever-mounting military threats and pressure offensive of the hostile forces.”
Kim’s comment were most likely aimed at the U.S. and South Korea and their joint military exercises, which the North sees as a provocation and “an invasion rehearsal,” ABC News writes.
According to a number of experts, the recent tests are an attempt by Pyongyang to gain leverage ahead of a possible resumption of nuclear talks with Washington, after previous efforts to resolve the issue failed.
President Donald Trump again dismissed the launch, saying that short-range missiles were never off the table and adding “Kim Jong-un has been, you know, pretty straight with me. He likes testing missiles.”
The latest, seventh, known launch by North Korea in a month was reported by South Korea’s military, which said that the North fired two suspected short-range ballistic missiles off its east coast on Saturday morning.
North Korea has been working on developing powerful multiple rocket launch systems, whose projectiles resemble short-range missiles, experts believe. Most of the weapons tested in the past few weeks have been short-range, ABC News informs, pointing to the fact that Pyongyang has no intention to start developing long-range missiles, a move that could seriously affect negotiations with the U.S.