North Korea tests new anti-aircraft weapon system

North Korea's state agency said Kim Jong-Un supervised the weapons system test and ordered its mass production and deployment throughout the country.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un inspects the intermediate-range ballistic missile Pukguksong-2's launch test on May 22, 2017.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un has supervised the test of a new anti-aircraft weapon system, the state news agency reported on Sunday.

North Korea's KCNA news agency did not report the exact nature of the weapon or the time of the test but said Kim had ordered its mass production and deployment throughout the country, after weeks of defiant ballistic missile tests.

Pyongyang has been pushing to develop a wide range of weapon systems since early last year at an unprecedented pace including a long-range missile capable of striking the mainland United States. It has in recent weeks tested its intermediate-range ballistic missile, making some technical advances.

North Korea rejects UN and unilateral sanctions by other states against its weapons programme as an infringement of its right to self defence and says the programme is necessary to counter US aggression.

TRT World spoke with Seoul-based journalist Joseph Kim for the latest on the test.

It last conducted a ballistic missile test a week ago.

The United States denies any intention to attack the North.

"Kim Jong Un ... watched the test of a new type of anti-aircraft guided weapon system organised by the Academy of National Defence Science," KCNA said on Sunday.

"This weapon system, whose operation capability has been thoroughly verified, should be mass-produced to deploy all over the country ... so as to completely spoil the enemy's wild dream to command the air, boasting of air supremacy and weapon almighty," it said.

KCNA said Kim was accompanied by his military aides and listed the three men believed to be the top officials in the country's rapidly accelerating missile programme.

They are Ri Pyong Chol, a former top air force general; Kim Jong Sik, a veteran rocket scientist; and Jang Chang Ha, the head of the Academy of National Defence Science, a weapons development and procurement centre.

North Korea said on Monday it had successfully tested what it called an intermediate-range ballistic missile that met all technical requirements and could now be mass-produced, although outside officials and experts questioned the extent of its progress.

On Tuesday, the head of the US Defense Intelligence Agency said that if left unchecked, North Korea is on an "inevitable" path to obtaining a nuclear-armed missile capable of striking the United States.

Appearing at a Senate hearing, Defense Intelligence Agency Director Vincent Stewart declined to offer a time estimate but Western experts believe the North still needed several years to develop such a weapon.

TRTWorld and agencies