North Korea has tested a new anti-aircraft weapon system that Kim Jong Un says will “completely spoil the enemy’s dream to command the air”.
Pyongyang said glitches detected in an earlier test have been “perfectly overcome”, paving the way for the weapon to be mass produced and deployed nationwide.
State media says the system is designed to “detect and strike different targets flying from any location” – and footage showed the drill taking place.
A satisfied Mr Kim said the system’s hitting accuracy had improved since it was first tested in April 2016 and it would stop hostile nations “boasting of air supremacy and weapon almighty”.
Three top officials accompanied the leader for the launch – including a veteran rocket scientist, a former air force general and the head of the blacklisted agency which is believed to be developing North Korea’s missiles and nuclear weapons.
Last Monday, the secretive state said it had successfully tested an intermediate-range ballistic missile that met all technical requirements and could also be mass produced, but experts have questioned the extent of the country’s progress.
A day later, the head of the US Defence Intelligence Agency said North Korea is on an “inevitable” path to obtaining a nuclear-armed missile capable of striking America if action is not taken.
However, Western experts believe Pyongyang is a few years away from successfully developing such a weapon.
North Korea’s defiant ballistic missile tests have created tensions with Washington in recent months.
The reclusive nation has continued with its programme despite painful UN and unilateral sanctions – and described such punishment as an infringement of its right to self-defence.
Pyongyang maintains nuclear weapons are necessary to counter US aggression, but America denies it has any intention to attack the North.