North Korean leader Kim Jong Un observed the successful test of an unspecified "newly developed ultramodern tactical weapon," state media reported Friday, in an apparent bid to apply pressure on the US and South Korea. It's the first publicly known field inspection of a weapons test by Kim Jong Un since he observed the testing of the Hwasong-15 intercontinental ballistic missile in November of last year, per South Korea's Unification Ministry. It didn't appear to be a test of a nuclear device or a long-range missile with the potential to target the US, per the AP. A string of such tests last year had many fearing war before the North turned to engagement and diplomacy. Still, any mention of weapons testing could influence the direction of stalled diplomatic efforts spearheaded by the US and aimed at ridding the North of its nuclear weapons.
The North said the test took place at the Academy of National Defense Science and that Kim couldn't suppress his "passionate joy" at its success. Analyst Shin Beomchul of Seoul's Asan Institute for Policy Studies said the weapon North Korea tested could be a missile, artillery, an anti-air gun, a drone, or another high-tech conventional weapons systems. Yang Wook, a Seoul-based military expert, said a "tactical weapon" in North Korea refers to "a weapon aimed at striking South Korea, including US military bases" there, so the North may have tested a short-range missile or a multiple rocket launch system. Asked about the test, the US State Department said that US and North Korean officials are talking about implementing the commitments that Trump and Kim made during their June meeting in Singapore. (The White House made a fake movie trailer for Kim at the summit.)