Just hours after today's second consecutive successful launch of a North Korean ballistic missile in one week, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un approved "the deployment of the new intermediate-range ballistic missile for combat use" as the country succeeded in test-firing it, Pyongyang's state media said Monday, cited by Yonhap. KCNA also redundantly added that Kim personally observed the launch of the new ground-to-ground Pukguksong-2 missile, and approved the deployment of the Pukguksong-2 for action, calling it a "successful strategic weapon," the KCNA said... as if there may have been something more important for Kim to do during that time.
"This type of missile should be rapidly mass-produced in a serial way" to arm the strategic force of the Korean People's Army, Kim was quoted as saying by the report. He set forth the strategic tasks for bolstering the country's nuclear force, it added.
Test-launch of the new Pukguksong-2 intermediate-range ballistic missile: Rodong Sinmun
According to South Korean military, quoted by various media outlets, the missile is the same type that was launched Feb. 12. It was developed with the technology applied in submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs). Today's test marked North Korea's second missile launch since South Korean President Moon Jae-in took office May 10. According to Yonhap, North Korea's continued missile launches are likely to test Moon, who earlier vowed to seek a dual approach to the North's denuclearization and inter-Korean dialogue. On Friday, North Korea condemned Moon's policy, saying dialogue can never be compatible with confrontation.
The latest provocations out of Pyongyang came despite the U.S. top diplomat's latest assurance that the U.S. has no intention to seek a regime change in North Korea. Shrugging off what appears to be Washington's conciliatory gesture, North Korea said Saturday that it will develop and produce more powerful weapons, which may prove a self-destructive gamble now that not one but two US aircraft carrier are set to anchor off the Korean coast.