NORTH KOREA has reportedly tested a cutting-edge weapon that could protect the country like a ‘steel wall’, state media reported on Friday.
The Korean Central Broadcasting Station said the country’s leader Kim Jong-un visited a testing site at the national defence institute to oversee the testing of the unspecified new tactical weapon, in his first “field inspection” since last year.
“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,” it said.
“The testing of the high-tech tactical weapon has been carried out successfully, meeting all superior and powerful designing indicators.”
According to South Korean news agency Yonhap, Kim also praised the scientists for yet another achievement. He called the testing a success in innovation, which enhanced its national defence capacity.
Without detailing the type of weapon tested, Kim said the development was spearheaded by his father and former Korean leader Kim Jong-il.
The latest development involving weapons testing threatens could deal a blow to the United States’ efforts to denuclearise Pyongyang as negotiations appear to have stalled.
“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 said.
State media released only one photo of Kim standing alongside officials in military uniforms but there were no weapons seen in the image.
However, some international weapons experts said the officials included those from the artillery corps of army.
According to Reuters, the announcement was likely aimed at boosting morale for the North Korean military rather than trying to torpedo diplomatic talks, Choi Kang, vice president of the Asan Institute for Policy Studies in Seoul, said.
“North Korea is trying to show its soldiers that they are becoming high-tech and keeping a certain level of military capability while trying to eliminate dissatisfaction and worries inside its military,” he added.
Another analyst, Yang UK of the Korea Defence and Security Forum, said the test is also seen as a response to recent joint military drills conducted by the US and South Korea.