The North Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) announced on Thursday that Kim Jong-un had overseen the testing of a new tactical guided weapon - a short-range battlefield weapon designed for use in combat scenarios.
The US believes if North Korea had launched a fully functioning anti-tank weapon, their sensors would have likely picked up some indication it had been fired. Shanahan added that there has been "no change to our posture or to our operations" after the test. United States officials told reporters that had North Korea fired an operational weapon, USA sensors would have detected it. As Sigmund Freud might have said, "sometimes a cigar is just a cigar", Klingner said on Twitter.
"Not all North Korean military activity is a signal to the USA or, if the signal is tactical and ambiguous, it isn't a very good signal". North Korea Blames US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for Failure of Hanoi Summit. But the fact that the weapon was not a ballistic missile is "a statement in and of itself". The State Department says it's aware of the report and the USA remains ready to engage North Korea in constructive negotiations. North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un Ready for Third US-North Korea Summit.
US President Donald Trump has repeatedly boasted that North Korea has suspended both missile and nuclear tests since he embarked on diplomacy a year ago to ease soaring tensions.
"It was nearly inevitable that the North Koreans would send some signal", Stephan Haggard, director of the Korea-Pacific Program at IR/PS, told NK News. Nonetheless, that test was the first clear sign that North Korea is willing to restart weapons testing if necessary. "If the USA does not keep the promises it made in front of the world, misjudges the patience of our people, forces a unilateral demand on us, and firmly continues with sanctions and pressures on our republic, we might be compelled to explore new ways to protect our autonomy and interests", Kim explained.