August 26, 2019 11:30
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un appears to have piloted a drone to observe his country's latest test of a massive multiple rocket launcher.
A military source said Sunday, "We were able to discern an object that appears to be a drone control device in photos released by North Korean state media."
Two types of remote controls can be spotted in the photos. One is black and placed in front of Kim on his desk, suggesting that he piloted a drone himself. Another one is white and connected to an iPad, and an intelligence source said that it "seems to be used to observe the launch close up."
He also had a pair of binoculars as usual.
State media quoted Kim as boasting about his recent missile tests. "Three years ago today, we achieved one of the few successes in the world of an underwater test launch of a strategic submarine-launched ballistic missile," he recalled Saturday.
The North's Korean Central News Agency in an editorial the same day said, "The U.S. should clearly understand that we do not have a lingering attachment on sanctions relief and that we will never barter the strategic security of the country for the sanctions relief."
North Korea had placed the top priority on getting international sanctions lifted until the failed summit with the U.S. in Hanoi earlier this year. But now it seems more interested in guarantees of the regime's survival.
Pyongyang is still bristling at joint U.S.-South Korean military drills that ended last week and the South's deployment of strategic military weapons.
Pundits say that the North is trying to up the pressure on the U.S. before resuming the talks on denuclearization.
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