Kim’s ‘great satisfaction’ over sixth missile test in three weeks

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North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has expressed “great satisfaction” over the “amazing success” of his country’s missile programme after another test on Friday, according to state run media.

The North Korean leader was seen in a newly released photo smiling as several apparently senior military officers stand around him laughing, clapping and pointing at a screen.

On the same day, another photo was released showing the apparent test firing of a new missile – in the sixth round of launches since late July.

Kim's 'great satisfaction' over sixth missile test in three weeks
Image:
A photo from North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) of a missile test fire on Friday

Analysts say the launches are attempts to pressure Washington and Seoul over slow nuclear negotiations and their joint military exercises.

Kim was reported by Pyongyang’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) to have said his military’s “mysterious and amazing success rates” in recent testing activity would lead to “invincible military capabilities no one dare provoke”.

The agency added: “(Kim) said everyone should remember that it is the (ruling) party’s core plan and unwavering determination to build a powerful force strong enough to discourage any forces from daring to provoke us and to leave any opponent defenceless against our Juche weapons of absolute power even in situations of physical clashes.”

KCNA did not describe the weapons involved in Friday’s launch but said the tests were successful.

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South Korea said two projectiles launched from the North’s eastern coast flew about 140 miles (230km) before landing in the sea between the Korean Peninsula and Japan.

The US envoy for North Korea, Stephen Biegun, is due to visit Japan and South Korea early next week for talks.

Mr Biegun will be in Japan from Monday to Tuesday and in Seoul from Tuesday to Thursday, the State Department said.

The US wants to press ahead with “verified denuclearisation” of North Korea but Pyongyang has ignored South Korean calls for dialogue recently.

Mr Trump and Mr Kim have met three times to discuss ways of resolving worldwide concerns over North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs, but little progress has been made.

Kim's 'great satisfaction' over sixth missile test in three weeks
Image:
Pedestrians in Japan walk past a roadside television screen reporting on North Korea’s projectile launch

On Friday, a North Korean government spokesperson criticised South Korean President Moon Jae-in for continuing to hold military exercises with the US.

The South and the US confirmed they are holding exercises but have said they are computer simulated, rather than involving actual troops or planes.

The North insists even the downsized drills violate agreements between Mr Kim and Mr Trump.

The test firing occurred on the 74th anniversary of the end of the Japanese occupation of Korea, at the end of the Second World War.