Seoul, Jul 26 : Day after the communist state launched two short-range ballistic missiles into the East Sea, North Korea on Friday admitted of firing its "new tactical guided weapon" under leader Kim Jong-un's guidance in a demonstration of power, local media reported.
The firings were aimed at sending a "solemn warning" to "South Korean military warmongers" who were introducing "ultramodern offensive weapons into South Korea" and pushing to "hold a military exercise in defiance of the repeated warnings" from the North, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said.
The North Korean emphasised that "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'. The firings came less than a month after Kim held a surprise meeting with US President Donald Trump at the inter-Korean border village of Panmunjom and agreed to resume their working-level nuclear talks.
After watching the launches, Kim expressed satisfaction over "the rapid anti-firepower capability of the tactical guided weapon system and the specific features of the low-altitude gliding and leaping flight orbit" of the missile, which would be hard to intercept, it said. "It must have given uneasiness and agony to some targeted forces enough as it intended," the KCNA said.
The report did not directly criticise the US or President Trump in an apparent effort to keep hope for talks alive but could have been meant to send a message to Washington as well. Calling Seoul's introduction of new weapons and military exercises a 'suicidal act', the North Korean leader urged South Korean President Moon Jae-in to "come back to the proper stand as in April and September last year" when they held summits.
'The KCNA did not elaborate, but the report was apparently referring to the joint military exercise between South Korea and the US slated for next month, and Seoul's plan to bring in stealth fighter jets from the US for deployment through 2021', Yonhap said in a report. North Korea has slammed South Korea over the plan to introduce the fighters, claiming it is intended to invade Pyongyang and constitutes a violation of the inter-Korean agreement to reduce tensions.
"The South Korean chief executive should not make a mistake of ignoring the warning from Pyongyang, however offending it may be," it said, without directly using Moon's name. The denuclearisation talks between Washington and Pyongyang were expected to resume in mid-July but have not taken place yet.
North Korea's foreign ministry warned last week that the planned combined military drill between Seoul and Washington could affect the prospect of the resumption of the stalled nuclear talks, calling it a rehearsal for invasion. Following the latest missiles launch, the presidential National Security Council tentatively concluded Thursday that the missiles were "a new kind of short-range ballistic missile" and expressed "strong concerns."
Seoul's relatively rapid response to the North's provocation marked a subtle shift from its previous cautious stance of refraining from directly describing the North's projectile launches as ballistic missile tests banned under UN sanctions. Despite the provocation, Washington appears to be trying to keep hope for dialogue with the North alive.
Trump insisted that he gets along "very well" with the North Korean leader and that the North hasn't tested missiles other than "small ones" in an interview with Fox News held after the missiles test.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also said earlier that he expects the working-level talks between the two countries to resume in "a couple of weeks," downplaying the North's move as a negotiating tactic.
US State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus, meanwhile, urged North Korea to stop provocations and return to talks, adding that all parties should abide by their obligation under U.N. Security Council resolutions. (UNI)