North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said on Tuesday night (Wednesday morning local time) that his country’s launch of tactical guided missiles was a warning to the US and South Korea’s joint military drills, Reuters reported, citing the North’s official KCNA news agency.
North Korea fired projectiles twice into the sea on Monday night, a day after the US and South Korean militaries started scaled-down joint military exercises despite warnings from the North that the drills could derail fragile nuclear diplomacy.
The test was North Korea’s fourth over the past week.
US national security adviser John Bolton reminded North Korea on Tuesday of its leader’s pledge to President Donald Trump not to resume launches of intercontinental-range missiles after Pyongyang conducted its fourth short-range missile test in less than two weeks and warned it might pursue “a new road.”
Kim said the military action was “an occasion to send an adequate warning to the joint military drill now underway by the US and south Korean authorities,” according to KCNA.
The “new-type tactical guided missiles,” launched from the western area of North Korea, flew across the peninsula “over the capital area and the central inland region” to “precisely hit the targeted islet” in the sea off the east coast of the country, KCNA said.
The launches “clearly verified the reliability, security and actual war capacity” of the weapon, it added, echoing analysts who said the launches showed North Korea’s confidence in its missile technology.
North Korean media reported that a test last week was personally supervised by Kim, and that a “new-type large-caliber multiple launch guided rocket system” had been tested.
The tests come as talks between the US and North Korea on denuclearization continue to stall, having broken down after the failed summit between Kim and Trump in February in Vietnam.
Nevertheless, Trump said on Friday that North Korea’s missile tests may have violated United Nations resolutions but did not break his agreement with Kim.