North Korea test-fires new weapon

North Korea test-fires new weapon

Kim vowed to stop nuclear tests and intercontinental ballistic missile launches last April as he said North Korea's nuclear capabilities had been confirmed.

North Korea has demanded the removal of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo from nuclear talks, accusing him of "talking nonsense" and being "reckless".

Pompeo is believed to have encouraged Trump, who has admitted to having a soft spot for Kim Jong Un, to hold firm with North Korea's young authoritarian leader during a summit in February in Hanoi that ended in deadlock.

Pompeo also said Monday during a speech that Kim made a promise to denuclearize during the first U.S. "I'd love to see that done sooner".

"Right now it's moving along just perfectly", he said of the negotiations with Kim.

"I am afraid that if Pompeo engages in the talks again, the table will be lousy once again and the talks will become entangled", the official added.

And last July, a few hours after Pompeo flew out of Pyongyang after two days of talks, the Foreign Ministry said US demands were "gangster-like".

"No one can predict" the outcome on the Korean peninsula if the United States fails to abandon the "root cause" that led to North Korea's development of nuclear weapons, Kwon said.

A series of nuclear and missile tests by North Korea in 2016-17 sharply raised tensions as Trump and Kim traded threats of war.

The recent activity, however, is likely not a banned ballistic missile test, which would jeopardise diplomatic talks meant to provide the North with concessions in return for disarmament.

A U.S. official directly familiar with the assessment told CNN that North Korea tested components for an anti-tank weapon, rather than a fully operational new weapon.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will meet in Russia later this month, the Kremlin announced Thursday.

Sarah Sanders admitted to providing media baseless information about Comey: Mueller report
Sanders has also had a strained relationship with reporters at times, with a number of heated exchanges between several White House reporters at daily briefings.

Pompeo led four-way talks in Washington of the USA and Japanese foreign affairs and defense chiefs, the latest in a flurry of major meetings scheduled between the close allies.

The US president said he chose to "walk away" from a deal with Kim because the North Koreans "wanted sanctions lifted in their entirety", which Trump refused. Of the test, the source said, "I think he's taking care of his domestic audience".

As the diplomacy stalls, there have been fresh reports of new activity at a North Korean missile research center and long-range rocket site where Pyongyang is believed to build missiles targeting the US mainland.

The latest launch comes after he visited the North Korean air force on Tuesday, inspecting a military drill and expressing "great satisfaction" at their combat readiness.

Pompeo's comments - at a news conference with acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono and Defense Minister Takeshi Iwaya - were his first response to the North Korean demand, which followed an announcement by Pyongyang on Thursday that it had tested a new tactical weapon.

The "advantages" of the weapon were "the peculiar mode of guiding flight and the load of a powerful warhead", KCNA said.

Experts said the North Korean statement appeared aimed at dividing Trump from senior officials in the hope of exacting concessions, particularly relief from punishing sanctions.

KCNA didn't reveal what the weapon was, and said nothing about whether it was a missile or another type of weapon.

Due to Beijing's sanctions enforcement, trade between the North and China dipped to US$2.43 billion last year, a decrease of more than 50 percent from the previous year, according to reports. The Pyongyang-based Munitions Industry Department is sanctioned both by the United States and the U.N. Security Council.

Since Hanoi, Pyongyang has mulled re-starting its missile and nuclear tests, although last week Kim suggested in a speech to parliament that he was willing to meet with Trump again.

The White House and Pentagon didn't immediately respond to media requests for comment.