North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said on Tuesday that his nation made a remarkable achievement to develop and complete a new weaponry system that ensures invincible military power for victorious progress, according to the North's Rodong Sinmun. Giving an encouraging message to missile scientists, Kim directly declared the completion of a triad of new short-range projectiles. It consists of the North Korean version Iskander (KN-23) ballistic missile, a new large-caliber multiple launch guided rocket system, and the North’s newly developed ATACMS short-range tactical missile system.
In the 8th order issued by the North Korean ruling Workers’ Party’s Central Military Commission chairman, Kim assessed Tuesday that the development of new weapon systems marks a historical turning point in strengthening self-defensive military power. He added that home-grown technology, wisdom and strength has solved highly difficult technical issues in cutting-edge national defense science. The remark is intended to dismiss some speculations that Russia has provided technical support to the North while highly commending newly developed missile systems.
Kim also stated that the party’s initiatives and intents are being fully materialized, announcing a special promotion of 103 military scientists in charge of developing the new missile systems. It is the first occasion for the North Korean leader to officially announce a special promotion regarding weaponry development. Not any public announcement has been made even since the North developed an intercontinental ballistic missile or the Hwasong-15 in 2017. Considering that promotions were already announced at the military general level in February and April, this announcement is rendered ever more unprecedented. The North seems to make it widely public outside the nation that it succeeded in developing new offensive systems against the South, according to a South Korean government official. Known as one of the key developers of ballistic missile systems, Jeon Il-ho has been promoted to a lieutenant general.
The South Korean military stays vigilant against any possible provocation by the North before a South Korea-U.S. joint military drill finishes up on Aug. 20. As Kim implied that there is a possibility of resuming dialogue with U.S. President Donald Trump following the joint military drill, there is a likelihood of the North executing a provocation before Aug. 20. Analysts strongly speculate that the North can launch a new short-range submarine-launched ballistic missile as it has launched seven short-range missiles.
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