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(LEAD) N. Korea says it tested 'new weapon' under leader Kim's guidance

07:01 August 17, 2019

(ATTN: ADDS more info throughout)

SEOUL, Aug. 17 (Yonhap) -- North Korea said Saturday that it has tested a "new weapon" under the guidance of its leader, Kim Jong-un, in the launch of two projectiles the previous day.

Kim "guided the test-fire of (a) new weapon again on Friday morning," the Korean Central News Agency said. "The national defense scientists showed a perfect result in the test-fire, too, and helped cement bigger confidence in this weapon system."

"It is our party's goal of defense building to possess invincible military capabilities no one dare provoke and to keep bolstering them," Kim was quoted as saying. "Everyone should remember that it is the party's core plan and fixed will for defense building to possess such a powerful force strong enough to discourage any forces from daring to provoke us."

The KCNA did not provide other details on the weapon, including its name.

The report came a day after South Korea's military said that the North fired two projectiles presumed to be short-range ballistic missiles off its east coast. It said that they flew around 230 kilometers at a maximum altitude of 30 km.

Military experts say that the projectiles bear outward similarities to the U.S.' Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS), a surface-to-surface missile system.

Friday's firing came six days after North Korea flew two projectiles believed to be short-range ballistic missiles, though the North said later it tested a "new weapon." It also was the sixth such launch since late July.

North Korea has carried out weapons tests in recent weeks in apparent protest of the ongoing joint military exercise by South Korea and the United States, which it sees as a rehearsal for invasion.

The North, in particular, lambasted Seoul for carrying out such military exercises while talking about peace and cross-border cooperation.

Earlier this week, the North warned that inter-Korean dialogue won't resume unless the South offers a "plausible excuse" for its combined military exercise with the U.S.

On Friday, a spokesperson for the North's committee handling inter-Korean affairs issued a statement saying that Pyongyang has no intention to talk with South Korea again and calling it a "senseless" hope to expect talks to resume when Seoul's joint military exercise with the U.S. is over.

The spokesperson also lashed out at South Korean President Moon Jae-in, calling him an "impudent guy" over his address on Thursday to mark the anniversary of liberation from Japan's colonial rule in which he reaffirmed his commitment to dialogue with the North.

Taking issue with Seoul's joint military drill with Washington, the spokesperson called Moon a "funny man" who "just reads what was written by his juniors" and denounced his speech as a "foolish commemorative speech" and "citation of spiritual slogans."

kokobj@yna.co.kr
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