KCNA: Test 'verified' new weapon's capabilities

Clay Curtis
August 12, 2019

In a separate statement, the North Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs blasted the South for continuing to host military drills with the United States, and said that future dialogue would be held strictly between Pyongyang and Washington, and not between the Koreas. The content of this image is as provided and can not be independently verified.

"All the facts prove that the South Korean authorities are hell-bent on arms buildup against their dialog partner", the state-run KCNA news agency said.

Kim "mounted the observation post and guided the test-fire", KCNA said of Saturday's launch, adding that he expressed "great satisfaction" with the result. Trump reiterated that he was not bothered by the flurry of short-range weapons Kim has launched despite the growing threat they pose to U.S. allies in the region, saying Pyongyang has never broken its pledge to pause nuclear tests.

North Korea on Friday said that its rubber-stamp parliament will hold its second meeting of the year on August 29.

Kim has said he said he would seek a "new way" if Washington doesn't change its hard-line stance on sanctions relief by the year's end, though experts doubt he'll fully abandon diplomacy and give away his hard-won status as a global statesman.

The US President also claimed that the North Korean leader issued a "small apology" for recently testing short-range missiles and said that launches would stop after the joint exercise ended.

South Korea and the USA have kicked off one of their joint, annual military exercises today. which is set to run until August 20th.

After receiving another letter from Kim, Trump said the North Korean leader expressed his will to restart denuclearization talks as soon as the joint drill is over.

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The Trump administration has repeatedly downplayed the significance of the tests, pointing out that the missiles are short-ranged, and, therefore, were not in violation of the agreement between Trump and Kim.

The constitution makes clear that Kim's role as chairman of the new State Affairs Commission makes him the supreme leader.

Saturday's missile launches were the latest in a recent string of tests by North Korea that have raised questions about the future of dialog.

"You could argue that the head-of-state business is meant to put Kim on the same plane as Xi, Trump or Putin".

The South Korean and US militaries hold their "Combined Command Post Training" for ten days starting Sunday. "Kim appeals to Trump directly about the exercises, trying to drive a wedge between Washington and Seoul", Easley said. It allows Kim to "represent North Korea in the global community".

North Korea's fifth round of weapons launches in less than three weeks was seen as a protest of the slow pace of nuclear negotiations and continuance of the U.S.

During the past two weeks, the North has conducted a series of test launches.

"Kim knows that he can continue to launch these short-range missiles without consequences. But right now, it's as if North Korea has a licence to fire short-range missiles", Shin told AFP.

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