N. Korea tests super-large multiple rocket launcher
Seoul: North Korea said Wednesday it has test-fired a super-large multiple rocket launcher similar to the one tried out by the regime in August.
In a statement, the state news agency KCNA described the rocket launcher as “super large” and said that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was present at the launch, reported Efe news. The test-fire was done on Tuesday.
However, it did not declare the test a success, prompting analysts to speculate that the weapon did not work properly.
Images released by KCNA show Kim overseeing the launch, accompanied by his sister and top aide Kim Yo-jong, and what appears to be a system with four 600-mm launch tubes mounted on a mobile platform.
In addition, the photos reveal that North Korea was able to test three rockets even though South Korean and the US military authorities only detected the launch of two.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff had said on Tuesday that North Korea fired two unidentified short-range projectiles towards the Sea of Japan — known as the East Sea in the two Koreas — from Kaechon city in South Pyongan province, located some 75 km north of the capital, Pyongyang.
The total distance covered by the two projectiles was around 330 km. They reached an altitude of about 50 to 60 km.
Given this and the fact that KCNA has not highlighted the success of the test as it has done on other occasions, it is believed that North Korea did conduct the launch of a third missile but that it was unsuccessful, reported Efe news.
This is the 10th test conducted by North Korea this year after a 17-month hiatus by the Kim Jong-un regime during negotiations with the US.
Weapons tests carried out in the last two months coincided with joint military exercises by South Korea and the US that were emphatically protested against by the North.
The latest test came only a few hours after North Korea’s first deputy Foreign Minister, Choe Son-hui, in a statement said that Pyongyang was willing to set a date for a discussion with the US later this month.
The statement marked a breakthrough when it comes to potentially ending a deadlock in nuclear talks between North Korea and the US.
However, the projectile launch soon after Choe’s statement is being interpreted as one more attempt by North Korea to gain leverage and build pressure on starting the dialogue.