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North Korea tests super-large rocket launcher

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A photo provided by Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) shows the test-firing of a new weapon of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) on Aug. 16, 2019. Kim Jong Un, top leader of DPRK, guided the test-fire of a new weapon again on Friday morning, KCNA reported on Saturday. Xinhua

SEOUL (Reuters) – North Korean leader Kim Jong Un oversaw the test of a “super-large multiple rocket launcher” on Saturday, state news agency KCNA reported on Sunday.

North Korea fired what appeared to be two short-range ballistic missiles into the sea off its east coast, the South Korean military said, the latest in a series of launches in recent weeks amid stalled denuclearization talks.

Photos released by North Korean state media showed rockets launching from large tubes mounted on the back of an eight-wheel vehicle.

Analysts said it appeared to be at least the fourth new missile system unveiled by North Korea since denuclearization talks stalled at a February summit between Kim and U.S. President Donald Trump.

North Korea must step up development of new strategic and tactical weapons to counter “ever-mounting military threats and pressure offensive of the hostile forces,” Kim said on Saturday, according to KCNA.

North Korea’s young defense scientists who developed the missiles are a “precious treasure and wealth of the country which cannot be bartered for anything,” Kim said.

On Saturday, a KCNA commentary said North Korea “will never barter the strategic security of the country for the sanctions relief.”

American officials have been trying to restart the stalled talks with North Korea over its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs, which are heavily sanctioned.

After the latest tests, Trump again touted his good relationship with Kim and said the North Korean leader had been “pretty straight with me.”

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