Kim Jong Un 'so excited' about power of North Korea's new 'ultramodern weapon'
North Korea has announced the successful test of a new “ultramodern” weapon, though has not specified exactly what it is. Leader Kim Jong Un visited a weapons testing site Friday in an undisclosed location, the Korean Central News Agency reported, to attend the demonstration. The report stated, “After seeing the power of the tactical weapon, Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un was so excited to say that another great work was done by the defense scientists and munitions industrial workers to increase the defense capability of the country,” according to The Guardian.
As Newsweek writes in an article "Kim Jong Un 'so excited' about power of North Korea's new 'ultramodern weapon'", the agency said work on the project begun under Kim’s father—Kim Jong Il. As such, the 35-year-old dictator was quite emotional watching its success. The leader “missed Kim Jong Il very much while seeing the great success of its test,” the report explained.
Only one photo was released from the event, the date of which was not disclosed. It showed Kim stood with military leaders taking notes. No weapons were pictured, nor was any other indication of what kind of system was being trialled.
According to Reuters, Kim said, “This result today is a justification of the party’s policy focused on defense science and technology, another display of our rapidly growing defense capabilities to the whole region, and a groundbreaking change in strengthening our military’s combat capabilities.”
The North's last publicly-announced weapons test was in November 2017 when the military fired a Hwasong-15 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). Then, tensions were extremely high on the Korean peninsula and between North Korea and the U.S. Since then, relations have warmed amid as yet-undelivered Northern promises of denuclearization.
That the state news agency specified the “tactical” nature of the weapon is significant, as weapons like ICBMs fall into the strategic category. A South Korean weapons analyst told CNN the system in question could be a piece of long-range artillery, for example a multiple rocket launcher.
Shin Beomchul, an analyst at the South Korean Asan Institute for Policy Studies, told the Associated Press the weapon could be one of many types. She gave examples including a missile, artillery, an anti-air gun or a drone. South Korean military experted Yang Wook added that word “tactical” refers to “a weapon aimed at striking South Korea including U.S. military bases.”
The celebration of the “ultramodern” weapon comes as denuclearization talks between Washington and Pyongyang falter, despite grand promises from the White House. Following his historic summit with President Donald Trump in Singapore in June, Kim said he would work towards giving up his nuclear weapons and move to foster closer ties with the U.S. and neighboring South Korea.
But for all the warm words, little has been achieved. Despite Trump’s boasts that he neutralized the North Korean threat, Pyongyang retains its nuclear capability and long-range rocket armory.
According to The Guardian, a spokesperson for the U.S. State Department said it remained confident Kim would continue to work towards the Singapore agreement—widely criticized by observers as too brief and too vague. U.S. Vice President Mike Pence told reporters Thursday Trump and Kim are planning to hold another summit soon, despite the lack of progress. “We remain confident that the promises made by President Trump and Chairman Kim will be fulfilled,” the spokesperson said in a statement.