North Korea successfully conducted the testing of its "super-large multiple rocket launcher" system, even as talks with the US remained in a limbo. The two short-range projectiles, launched from South Pyongan province, flew approximately 370 kilometres, South Korea's military said, citing the reclusive state's official news agency.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was apparently not at the site of the launch, Reuters reported, but expressed satisfaction over the success of the key weapons testing. Official news agency KCNA said the "continuous fire system" of the multiple rocket launchers was able to totally destroy the target. If Pyongyang achieves submarine-based missile capability, it wold further skew military balance in the volatile peninsula.
State newspaper Rodong Sinmun published a photo of the multiple rocket launcher, the agency said. While US Senator Cory Gardner, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on East Asia said Pyongyang "engaged in increasingly escalatory behavior," Japan also condemned the move.
Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said North Korea's latest missile launch was "extremely regrettable" and that it was in gross violation of the United Nations resolutions. "This launch and continued North Korean aggression underscore the need for the Trump Administration to re-commit to the maximum pressure policy" Gardner said.
Talks at standstill
Though US President Donald engaged in a charm offensive and held personal talks with Kim Jong-un, Pyongyang still harbours fears over a possible US invasion. North Korea is under heavy United Nations and US sanctions over its ballistic missile programme. President Trump met Kim Jong Un for the first time at a historic summit in Singapore in 2018.
Pyongyang has said earlier it would launch an inter-continental ballistic missile (ICBM) "anytime and anywhere" in response to the rising nuclear threat from the United States. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said as early as in 2017 January that his country was close to test-launching an ICBM.
"The U.S. is wholly to blame for pushing the DPRK to have developed ICBM as it has desperately resorted to anachronistic policy hostile toward the DPRK for decades to encroach upon its sovereignty and vital rights," official news agency KCNA quoted the spokesman as saying.