|This Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2019, photo shows a test-firing from a multiple rocket launcher at an undisclosed location in North Korea. Korean Central News Agency reported that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un visited the site. AP|
North Korea said Wednesday that it tested a super-large multiple rocket launcher the previous day under the guidance of leader Kim Jong-un.
On Tuesday, South Korea's military said that the North fired two short-range projectiles from its western region toward the east, saying both flew about 330 kilometers.
Kim "gave field guidance to the test-fire of super-large multiple rocket launcher again on Tuesday," according to the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).
Kim also said that the latest test has finally verified the aspects related to its combat operation, characteristics of trajectory, accuracy and precise homing functions, adding the remaining step is to run a fire test "which is most vivid character in terms of the power of multiple rocket launcher."
The KCNA, however, did not mention whether the test was a success.
Tuesday's firings marked the 10th weapons test North Korea has conducted this year. On Aug. 24, Pyongyang said it successfully test-fired a new super-large multiple rocket launcher.
The latest weapons test came just hours after North Korea offered to resume nuclear talks with the U.S.
North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui said in a statement that the North is willing to sit down with the U.S. "at the time and place to be agreed late in September."
The overture represented a major change in its stance, which had been punctuated until recently by harsh-worded criticism trained on the U.S. and skepticism over the prospect of the resumption of talks.
Last month, North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho called his U.S. counterpart, Mike Pompeo, "the diehard toxin of the U.S. diplomacy" for suggesting that all sanctions on the North would remain in place until the North's denuclearization.
In a statement issued in late August, Vice Foreign Minister Choe said that expectations of dialogue with the U.S. are "gradually disappearing."
Nuclear talks have been stalled since the no-deal summit between North Korean leader Kim and U.S. President Donald Trump in February. They failed to match Pyongyang's denuclearization steps with Washington's concessions, such as sanctions relief.
Kim and Trump agreed to restart working-level talks within a few weeks when they met at the inter-Korean border in late June but the talks have not been held amid heightened tensions amid the North's continued weapons tests.
Observers see North Korea's continued weapons tests as a way to strengthen its diplomatic hand and pressure the U.S. to make more concessions when the two sides resume nuclear talks. (Yonhap)