North Korea tests 'tactical weapon' as frustration grows

In Singapore Modi tells world's fintech firms India is your best destination

It marked the first official report of a weapons test by North Korea in almost a year since it launched a delicate diplomacy with Washington over its nuclear and missile program.

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

Yang Wook, a Seoul-based military expert, said a "tactical weapon" in North Korea refers to "a weapon aimed at striking South Korea including United States military bases" there, so the North may have tested a short-range missile or a multiple rocket launch system.

North Korea says it will deport a USA citizen who was detained in October after entering illegally from China.

Their release differed dramatically from American student Otto Warmbier, who was arrested in North Korea for alleged spying after taking a propaganda poster from a hotel room.

A short KCNA dispatch said North Korea chose to deport him but did not say why and when.

News of this "newly developed high-tech tactical" weapon was announced by Pyongyang's KCNA news agency on Friday along with a picture of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un talking with officials on a beach test-site. A string of such tests previous year had many fearing war before North Korea turned to engagement and diplomacy.

North Korea's Korea Central Broadcasting Station (KCBS) did not say exactly what kind of weapon Kim inspected, but noted that the test was successful, Yonhap said.

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Worldwide weapons experts said the officials included a leader of the artillery corps of the Korean People's Army.

North Korean negotiator Kim Yong-chol cancelled a planned meeting with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in NY last week at the last minute.

North Korea has continued to showcase its conventional military capabilities, including at a large military parade in Pyongyang, its capital, on 9 September.

'Generally, tests of new high-tech weapons are conducted in secret, ' Shin said. But nuclear diplomacy has reported no major breakthrough since the Kim-Trump summit, the first such meeting between North Korea and the United States. Yang said the latest North Korean test won't completely break down nuclear diplomacy, though more questions would be raised about how honest the North is about its commitment to denuclearization.

Diplomacy has stalled since a summit between Mr Kim and the United States president, 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.

In the ASEAN chairman's statement issued after the summit on Monday, ASEAN leaders praised North Korea's commitment "to complete denuclearization and its pledge to refrain from further nuclear and missile tests". Vice president Pence acknowledged that India had made progress economically, the ministry said.

The test may also have been a response to recent joint military drills by the US and South Korea, which Pyongyang said violated recent pacts to halt to "all hostile acts", Korea Defence and Security Forum analyst Yang Uk said.

Pyongyang has increasingly expressed frustrations at Washington's refusal to ease sanctions, and recently threatened to restart development of its nuclear weapons if more concessions were not made.

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