North Korean state news agency KCNA said on Friday that another test of super-large multiple rocket launchers a day earlier had been a success, but the test drew protests from Japan and South Korea.
The KCNA said the latest test of the 'super-large multiple rocket launchers', following two tests of the same weapon in August and September overseen by the North Korean leader, Mr. Kim Jong Un, indicated the progress of Pyongyang’s weapons development while talks with the United States remain in limbo.
The success of the tests was reported immediately and Mr. Kim expressed satisfaction and congratulated the scientists who had developed the weapon, KCNA said, suggesting that he was not at the site for Thursday afternoon’s test. North Korea’s state newspaper, Rodong Sinmun, showed a photo of the multiple rocket launcher surrounded by yellow flames and smoke.
Thursday’s test verified that the 'continuous fire system' of the multiple rocket launchers was able to 'totally destroy' a group target of the enemy by a surprise strike, KCNA said. Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary, Mr. Yoshihide Suga said North Korea’s latest test, which he described as a missile launch, was against United Nations resolutions and was 'extremely regrettable'. He said Japan had protested to North Korea over the missile launch.
The Republican U.S. Senator, Mr. Cory Gardner, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee, on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cyber security Policy, said North Korea was 'engaged in increasingly escalatory behavior'.
'This launch and continued North Korean aggression underscore the need for the Trump Administration to re-commit to the maximum pressure policy' and for Congress to impose additional sanctions against Mr. Kim’s government, Mr. Gardner said in a statement.
However, South Korea’s national security adviser, Mr. Chung Eui-yong said the North’s missile launches do not pose 'very grave threats'.
'We’re also test-firing missiles, no less than North Korea does,' he told a parliamentary session. 'Our missile defence and intercept capabilities are absolutely superior to theirs.' The weapons test was the first since one day of talks between the US and North Korea in Sweden ended without an agreement on Oct. 5. It came as North Korea repeatedly emphasises an end-of-the-year deadline that Mr. Kim set for denuclearisation talks with Washington.