North Korea tests new 'ultramodern tactical weapon'

North Korea tests new 'ultramodern tactical weapon'

After a series of provocative nuclear and missile tests last year that fueled fears of war, North Korea entered talks with the United States and South Korea early this year with a vague commitment to nuclear disarmament.

State news agency KCNA said the man, whom it named as Bruce Byron Lowrance, had told officials he was "under the command" of USA spy agency the CIA.

A meeting in NY planned this month between US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and North Korea's Kim Yong-chol, a senior aide to Mr Kim, was postponed.

As The Associated Press notes, the announcement of a quick release, "suggests that North Korea still wants to maintain the mood for dialogue with the United States despite stalled nuclear diplomacy".

North Korea announced it will deport an American citizen it detained one month ago for illegally entering the country.

In 2017, the North released a U.S. student who had been arrested a year earlier for stealing a propaganda sign. "North Korea is saying 'If you don't listen to us, you will face political burdens, '" said analyst Shin Beomchul of Seoul's Asan Institute for Policy Studies.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has overseen the testing of a "newly developed ultramodern tactical weapon", Pyongyang's state media reported Friday, in a move that will raise the temperature over denuclearization talks.

'It's not appropriate for our military to view it as a provocation when North Korea has confirmed it is a high-tech tactical weapon test, ' he added.

The test was successful and the weapon could protect North Korea like a "steel wall", KCNA, the North Korean news agency, said.

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He said: "I think it will be absolutely imperative in this next summit that we come away with a plan for identifying all of the weapons in question, identifying all the development sites, allowing for inspections of the sites and the plan for dismantling nuclear weapons".

State media has also expressed anger in recent days at the resumption of small-scale joint military exercises by the United States and South Korea.

The three Americans returned home on a flight with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Diplomacy has stalled since the Singapore summit, with Washington pushing for more action on nuclear disarmament and the North insisting that the USA first approve a peace declaration formally ending the Korean War and lift sanctions.

Even if the test was a message for Washington and Seoul, Friday's report from the North was noticeably less belligerent than past announcements of weapons tests, and did not focus on North Korean claims of US and South Korean hostility.

The US Vice President Mike Pence told reporters after meeting South Korean President Moon Jae-in that both leaders had been discussing a second meeting ever since their June summit in Singapore.

He said: "We're going to keep the pressure on".

Mr Shin said the weapon North Korea tested could be a missile, artillery, an anti-air gun, a drone or other high-tech conventional weapons systems.

The news came nearly a year after Pyongyang's last test of an intercontinental ballistic missile and recalled the repeated announcements of 2017, which included by far its most powerful nuclear blast to date and rockets that brought the whole of the U.S. mainland into range.

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