SEOUL : North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un observed the test-firing of a newly developed, high-precision tactical guided missile, the North’s official KCNA news agency said Friday, hailing a “breakthrough” in the country’s defensive capabilities.
The agency said the test of the new weapon, which was developed under Kim’s personal guidance, was wholly successful. North Korea is not known to have a tactical guided missile capability, but analysis of a recent propaganda film suggested it may have acquired a variant of a Russian cruise missile, the KH-35.
The new missile marks “a great breakthrough in defensive capability”, KCNA said. It was not immediately clear when the test took place, but it coincides with the firing of what were believed to be three short-range missiles into the Sea of Japan (East Sea) on Thursday.
Analysts have suggested the North may be looking to raise tensions ahead of an expected visit to South Korea next week by Chinese President Xi Jinping.
On Thursday, the Korean People’s Army (KPA) released a statement on KCNA condemning recent South Korean live fire exercises near their disputed maritime border in the Yellow Sea.
The statement described the drills as a “reckless provocation” and warned that frontline KPA units had rounded off preparations for a “devastating” retaliatory strike.