USA officials have played down the test of what North Korea has described as a "tactical" weapon, implying a short-range system rather than the ballistic missiles seen as a threat to the United States.
"Tactical weapons are for attacking South Korea, not the U.S.", Park Hwee-rhak, a political scientist at Kookmin University in Seoul and a former South Korean army colonel, told NPR in a phone interview. US officials have not commented on the test.
Kono said Friday's meeting came at "a critical time to align the response to the North Korean situation", noting that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will travel to the U.S.to meet Trump next week and that Trump will soon visit Japan. It said Pompeo's continued participation in the negotiations would ensure that the talks become "entangled" and called for a different counterpart who is "more careful and mature in communicating with us".
"The description makes whatever was tested sound like a missile, but that could be everything from a small anti-tank guided missile to a surface-to-air missile to a rocket artillery system", said North Korea analyst Ankit Panda. The U.S. State Department has said Washington had nothing to do with it.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said US diplomatic efforts will continue toward the goal of denuclearization of North Korea, a day after a North Korean official said it no longer wanted to deal with him in talks.
It added however that a sudden change of plan by the leader of the secretive North Korean state could not be ruled out.
Since the speech, the North has been stepping up criticism of the US, with senior diplomats blasting US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Adviser John Bolton by name for failing to understand Pyongyang's negotiating position and making irrelevant remarks.
"The Trump administration has generally chosen to ignore Pyongyang's public signals, including escalating signals of displeasure with the negotiations", he said.
The military-related posturing comes after Kim expressed deep disappointment earlier this month with what the North claims was an inflexible, "gangster-like" demands by the U.S.in Hanoi.
Kwon also said the two leaders were on good terms, even as he castigated Pompeo for "fabricated" stories as part of a "publicity stunt".
Kim oversaw the test of an unidentified tactical weapon in November.
A fresh round of UN Security Council sanctions was imposed as punishment after North Korea tested nuclear devices and intercontinental ballistic missiles in 2016 and 2017.
He said last April he would stop nuclear tests and launches of intercontinental ballistic missiles because North Korea's nuclear capabilities had been verified, but he has never promised to stop testing all weapons.