SEOUL        -         North Korea confirmed Friday it conducted its third test-firing of a new “super-large” multiple rocket launcher that it says expands its ability to destroy enemy targets in surprise attacks. The latest launches extended a monthslong streak of weapons displays by the North, which continues to use a standstill in nuclear negotiations to advance its military capabilities while pressuring Washington for concessions. Pyongyang’s official Korean Central News Agency described the tests a day after the South Korean and Japanese militaries said they detected two projectiles launched from an area near the North Korean capital traveling more than 321 kilometers (200 miles) cross-country before landing in waters off the North’s eastern coast. Experts say the North could continue to ramp up weapons demonstrations ahead of an end-of-year deadline set by leader Kim Jong Un for the US to offer mutually acceptable terms to salvage a fragile diplomacy strained by disagreements over exchanging sanctions relief and disarmament steps. Thursday’s launches followed statements of displeasure by top North Korean officials over the slow pace of nuclear negotiations with the United States.

And demands that the administration of President Donald Trump ease crippling sanctions and pressure on their country. KCNA said Kim expressed satisfaction over what North Korea described as a successful test of its new rocket artillery system, but it wasn’t clear whether the leader observed the launches on site.