Pyongyang confirms it tested super-large multiple rocket launcher
Robie de Guzman • November 29, 2019 • 453
Seoul – North Korea confirmed Friday that it tested a super-large multiple launch rocket system a day earlier and that the country’s leader oversaw the test, state media reported.
On Thursday, North Korea fired two projectiles from the launcher from Yeonpo in the country’s eastern South Hamgyong province in a move apparently designed to increase pressure on the United States over their stalled denuclearization talks.
The missiles traveled around 380 kilometers (236 miles) eastward and reached a maximum altitude of 97 km, according to South Korean military authorities, before falling into the Sea of Japan (called the East Sea in the two Koreas).
North Korean state-run agency KCNA said that in addition to the country’s leader, Kim Jong-un, other key figures of North Korea’s weapons programs were also present at the launch, including Kim Jong-sik, deputy director of the Military (machine-building) Industry Department as well as Jang Chang-ha, president of the Academy of National Defense Science.
Kim Jong-un expressed “great satisfaction” with the test, which he said proved the weapon’s “military and technical superiority and its firm reliability.”
The launch on Thursday was the 13th weapons test conducted by North Korea this year and the fourth using the super-large multiple rocket launcher, which is believed to be a system with four 600-millimeter launch tubes mounted on a mobile platform.
The regime has already tested this rocket launcher on three previous occasions this year, on Aug. 24, Sept. 10 and Oct. 31.
The latest test seems to be aimed at pressuring Washington to accept new conditions in the disarmament dialogue that has been deadlocked since earlier this year.
Bilateral negotiations have not advanced since a failed summit in February in Hanoi, where Washington refused to lift economic sanctions in return for what Pyongyang dismantling its nuclear assets.
Both parties held a working meeting in early October in Stockholm, Sweden, which ended with North Korea accusing Washington of failing to offer anything new and actively maintaining its “hostile policy”.
North Korea says the White House has a deadline of the end of the year to offer alternative proposals and experts believe the regime could carry out new weapons tests from January if there is no progress, especially of intermediate-range missiles. EFE-EPA
North Korea’s state-run television on Tuesday (July 28) released a video of Pyongyang workers disinfecting the city as the state introduced tougher curbs against the coronavirus, after it locked down the town Kaesong, on the border with the South, to tackle what could be its first publicly confirmed infection.
Strict quarantine measures and the screening of districts were in progress and test kits, protective clothing and medical equipment were being supplied, the North’s KCNA state news agency said.
The measures come after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un declared an emergency on Sunday (July 26) after a person who defected to South Korea three years ago returned across the highly fortified demilitarised zone (DMZ) to Kaesong this month with symptoms of COVID-19, KCNA reported.
Reclusive North Korea had reported testing 1,211 people for the virus as of July 16 with all returning negative results, the World Health Organisation said in a statement sent to Reuters. The report said 696 nationals were under quarantine. (Reuters)
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has presided over a meeting of the ruling party’s Central Military Commission and decided to suspend military action plans against South Korea, the official KCNA news agency reported on Wednesday (June 24).
The video conference meeting on Tuesday (June 23) also discussed documents outlining measures for “further bolstering the war deterrent of the country,” KCNA reported.
The committee members “took stock of the prevailing situation” before deciding to suspend the military plans, the report said, without elaborating.
Political tensions between the rival Koreas have been rising over Pyongyang’s objections to plans by defector-led groups in the South to fly propaganda leaflets over to the North. (Reuters)
North Korea blew up and destroyed an inter-Korean liaison office in its border city of Kaesong on Tuesday (June 16), South Korea said, after Pyongyang threatened to take action if defector groups push ahead with their campaign to send propaganda leaflets into North Korea.
South Korea’s Yonhap News Television reported that an explosion was heard and aired a video of smoke seen over Kaesong, and the South’s Unification Ministry said the liaison office had been destroyed.
A South Korean military source told Reuters that there were signs of the impending demolition earlier in the day, and South Korean military officials watched live surveillance imagery of the building as it was blown up.
Tensions have risen as Pyongyang threatened to sever inter-Korean ties and take retaliatory measures over the leaflets, which carry messages critical of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, including human rights abuses. (Reuters)
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