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A photo provided on Sunday, May 5, 2019, by the North Korean government shows a test of weapon systems on May 4, 2019, in North Korea
Image: picture-alliance/AP Images/KCNA

North Korea's Kim oversaw latest launches

May 5, 2019

Both Koreas have shied away from describing the weapons test as a "missile launch." Nonetheless, Kim Jong Un was reportedly very happy with his latest "projectile" launch into the Sea of Japan.


North Korean leader Kim Jong Un expressed great satisfaction over new weapons testing, state media reported on Sunday.

Footage showed him observing a test of of long-range multiple rocket launchers and what looked to be a new short-range ballistic missile.

Kim ordered his troops to keep a "high alert posture" and enhance combat ability to "defend the political sovereignty and economic self-sustenance of the country." 

The launch on Saturday came despite an agreement with South Korea to cease all hostile activities. The South condemned the launches as a violation of that agreement.

The short-range missile that was on display appears to be modeled on Russia's 9K720 Iskander mobile short-range ballistic missile system, and North Korea claims it is able to deliver a nuclear load anywhere on the Korean Peninsula.

Read more: Kim Jong Un says US acted 'in bad faith' at Vietnam talks

'Projectiles,' not missiles

The South Korean military initially described Saturday's launch as a missile test, but quickly modified its assessment to more vaguely describe them as "projectiles."

The North also shied away from the term, describing the incident as a "strike drill" involving "long-range multiple rocket launchers" — not targeted by UN sanctions resolutions — and unspecified "tactical guided weapons."

US President Donald Trump said he was confident the North wanted to continue its denuclearization dialogue.

"Kim Jong Un fully realizes the great economic potential of North Korea, & will do nothing to interfere or end it," Trump tweeted.

"He also knows that I am with him and does not want to break his promise to me. Deal will happen!"

Germany's Foreign Ministry condemned the "provocative" launches and "welcomed" Trump's willingness to continue negotiations with the North.

"We call on North Korea to desist from any further provocations," it wrote in a Tweet.

Analysts have interpreted the latest launch as an effort to increase pressure on Washington to accept an offer of partial denuclearization.

aw/bw (AP, AFP, Reuters, dpa)

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