New missile launch was a warning, North Korean leader says

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un inspected the demonstration of a “new-type tactical guided weapon” on Thursday as a warning to South Korea to stop importing high-tech weapons and conducting joint military exercises, state media KCNA said on Friday.

North Korea test-fired two new short-range ballistic missiles on Thursday, South Korean officials said, its first missile test since Kim and U.S. President Donald Trump agreed to revive denuclearization talks last month.

The KCNA report did not mention Trump or the U.S., but it said Kim criticized South Korean authorities for carrying on with joint exercises, which are usually conducted with U.S. troops.

“We cannot but develop nonstop super-powerful weapon systems to remove the potential and direct threats to the security of our country that exist in the South,” Kim said, according to KCNA.

He accused South Koreans of “double dealing” for saying they support peace but simultaneously importing new weapons and conducting military drills.

South Korea’s leader should stop such “suicidal acts” and “should not make a mistake of ignoring the warning,” Kim said.

‘Uneasiness and agony’

Kim said he was satisfied with the rapid response and low-altitude trajectory of the weapon, which he said would make it difficult to intercept.  At times, Kim’s the KCNA report was gloating, saying that the test “must have given uneasiness and agony to some targeted forces enough as it intended.”

Ballistic missile tests would be a violation of UN Security Council resolutions that ban North Korean use of such technology. North Korea rejects the restriction as an infringement of its right to self-defence.

U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un stand at the demarcation line in the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas, in Panmunjom, South Korea this June. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

Seoul’s National Security Council said on Thursday it believed the missiles were a new type of ballistic missile, but it would make a final assessment with the United States.

South Korea, which had backed efforts by North Korea and the United States to end years of hostility, on Thursday urged Pyongyang to stop acts that are unhelpful to easing tension and said the tests posed a military threat. The U.S. State Department urged Pyongyang to refrain from further provocations and said it still hoped for a resumption of working-level talks on North Korea’s denuclearization.

When asked what message the Trump administration was taking from North Korea’s launch of short-range missiles, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Fox News, “When the president and Chairman Kim were together now just a few weeks back in the DMZ, Chairman Kim made two commitments.”

“One, he said he’d commit not to conduct any nuclear tests and that he would continue to avoid launching intermediate-range and long-range ballistic missiles. He also said that he would put his negotiating team back in the game, that we’d have another round of negotiations, and we’re working our way towards that.”

“North Korea was engaged in activity before we were having diplomatic conversations far worse than this, more importantly far more dangerous for America and Japan and for South Korea than this. I think this allows the negotiations to go forward. You know, lots of countries posture before they come to the table,” Pompeo told Fox News.

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