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N Korea 'tests new weapon'; wants Pompeo out of talks

April 18, 2019 19:04


North Korea on Wednesday test-fired a new tactical guided weapon under the supervision of its leader Kim Jong Un, according to reports in state news agency.

Quoting the Korean Central News Agency, Yonhap reported that the North Korean leader called the test an 'event of very weighty significance in increasing the combat power of the People's Army'.

'After watching the power of the new-type tactical guided weapon, he pointed out that our national defence scientists and workers in the field of the munitions industry performed another great work in increasing the country's defence capabilities,' the report in KCNA highlighted.

The North Korean state media had earlier reported that Kim had visited an air force unit on Wednesday, reviewing a flight exercise in his first public inspection of military activities in five months.

The latest test comes after the abrupt ending of the second United States-North Korea summit in Hanoi, Vietnam in February this year.

The two sides failed to release a joint agreement on the next steps in the denuclearisation process as differences over sanctions waivers could not be resolved.

Even then, the United States has maintained that its relationship with the reclusive state has remained good, with Secretary of State Michael Pompeo indicating that the two nations have kept in constant touch after the Hanoi summit.

The North Korean Foreign Ministry has accused Pompeo of playing down the significance of comments by Kim, who said last week that Washington has until the end of the year to offer mutually acceptable terms for an agreement to salvage the high-stakes nuclear diplomacy.

Both the demand for Pompeo's removal from the talks and the weapon test point to North Korea's displeasure with the deadlocked negotiations.

Kim had earlier suggested a year-end deadline for denuclearisation talks with the United States, showing his willingness to hold a third summit -- a move which was wholly welcomed by US President Donald Trump.  -- ANI

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