North Korean leader Kim Jong-un supervised the test of a new weapon for the first time since North Korea test-launched an intercontinental ballistic missile in November last year, state media reported Friday.
The official Rodong Sinmun daily said Kim watched the test of a newly developed high-tech tactical weapon at the test site near Sinuiju, North Pyongan Province.
Kim said that the test was successful, "meeting all superior and powerful designing indicators" but did not disclose what it was. The South Korean government and military only said they are "analyzing" the report.
It is believed to be either a new surface-to-ship cruise missile that could be used in striking an aircraft carrier or a new multiple rocket launcher with precision guidance.
However, South Korean military authorities said the test was not a provocation. "By saying, 'high-tech,' the North was announcing to its people that it's aspiring to become a military power," a military spokesman here said. "By 'tactical weapon,' it meant it wasn't a show of force to the outside world."
Meanwhile, Kim reiterated the importance of modernization during a visit to a glass factory in the same province. "The world is rapidly changing and developing," the official [North] Korean Central News Agency on Sunday quoted him as saying.
Gary Samore, a former White House coordinator for arms control, told Radio Free Asia that the latest test means that the regime is trying to put pressure on Seoul and Washington to gain economic benefits through the easing of sanctions.
Back in May, Kim sent 300,000 soldiers to construction sites, saying that it would be possible to attract foreign investment because international sanctions were expected to be eased, a source told the Tokyo Shimbun.
Meanwhile, about 100 Hyundai Group executives and staff led by chairwoman Hyun Jeong-eun, arrived in the North on Sunday for a two-day event marking the 20th anniversary of package tours to the Mt. Kumgang resort.