- North Korea fired two short-range projectiles with the new system from near the coastal town of Yeonpo.
- It was the 13th weapon test conducted by North Korea in 2019.
- Thursday’s test looks set to force Washington to accept new conditions in the disarmament dialogue.
North Korea made a confirmation on Friday that it had successfully tested a super-large multiple launch rocket system on Thursday and that the nation’s leader Kim Jong-un was present during the test. On Thursday, the North Korean regime fired two short-range projectiles with the new system from near the coastal town of Yeonpo, in the province of South Hamgyong, on the east coast of the country.
The move is widely regarded by analysts as being aimed at piling more pressure on the United States in regard to a year-end deadline Kim has set for the US to show flexibility in the two country’s stalled denuclearization talks.
The projectiles flew about 380 kilometers (235 miles), at a maximum altitude of 97 kilometers (60 miles), before they eventually fell into the waters of the Sea of Japan (which is commonly known as the East Sea by the two Koreas). The information was availed by South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff.
North Korea’s state official news agency, KCNA, reported that, in addition to Kim Jong-un, key figures from the regime’s weapons of mass destruction program were present during the test. They included the Deputy Director of the Machine-Building Department, Kim Jong-sik, and the president of the Academy of Sciences for National Defense, Jang Chang-ha. “The volley test-fire aimed to finally examine the combat application of the super-large multiple launch rocket system proved the military and technical superiority of the weapon system and its firm reliability,” KCNA reported.
Kim Jong Un, the North Korean dictator, expressed great satisfaction with the test, which, according to the agency, “certified the military and technical superiority of this weapon system.” It was the 13th weapon test conducted by North Korea in 2019, and the fourth test-launch of the rocket launcher since August. The other three took place on August 24, September 10, and October 31.
Thursday’s test looks set to force Washington to accept new conditions in the disarmament dialogue, which has been stalled since the beginning of this year. Bilateral negotiations have not advanced since the failed February summit in Hanoi, where the US considered Pyongyang’s offer to dismantle its nuclear assets insufficient and refused to suspend it’s economic sanctions on North Korea.
Government representatives from both Pyongyang and Washington met in early October in Stockholm, but the meeting failed to bear fruits with the North Koreans accusing Washington of offering nothing new and maintaining an active “hostile policy” against them. North Korea pointed out that the White House has until the end of the year to amend its proposals, and experts believe that if no progress is made, the Kim Jong Un led regime could conduct further testing of weapons, especially medium-range missiles, from January next year going forward.