North Korea Could Soon Deploy ‘Super-Large’ Rocket Launcher

November 29, 2019 Updated: November 29, 2019

North Korea said on Nov. 29 that they did a final review of a “super-large” multiple rocket launcher by test-firing it.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and other top officials were present during the testing of the weapon and indicated “great satisfaction,” according to local media.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, center, smiles after the test-firing of an unspecified missile at an undisclosed location in North Korea on Aug. 24, 2019. (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP)

The move suggests that the country is getting ready to deploy the new missile launcher.

Kim Dong-yub, an analyst at Seoul’s Institute for Far Eastern Studies said that their belligerent neighbors are likely to start mass-producing the weapon. According to the Associated Press, the analyst stated that the weapon may have already been deployed.

South Korea and Japan expressed concern over the testing.

Seoul’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement that the projectiles were launched toward North Korea’s eastern waters from northeastern South Hamgyong province.

Maj. Gen. Jeon Dong Jin, a senior operations officer at the JCS, said the projectiles flew about 235 miles at a maximum altitude of 60 miles. He said South Korean and U.S. intelligence authorities were continuing to analyze the details.

“Our military expresses its strong regret over [the launches] and urges [North Korea] to immediately stop acts that escalate military tensions,” Jeon said in a televised briefing. He said the military is monitoring possible additional launches by North Korea.

Members of the South Korean Navy’s special forces aim their weapons after landed from UH-60 helicopter during the drill on the islets called Dokdo in Korean and Takeshima in Japanese, Sunday, Aug. 25, 2019. (South Korea’s Navy via AP)

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said that the rocket testings were a “serious challenge” to Japan and to the international community, adding that the Japanese government will do “do its utmost” to protect the people. He called the projectiles “ballistic missiles.”

Some experts have classified the projectiles fired by the “super-large” multiple rocket weapon as missile-class.

The testings may be a response to recent military drills that South Korea performed along with the U.S. military.

North Korea’s State Affairs Commission, the country’s supreme decision-making body, condemned on Nov. 13 the U.S.-South Korean military drills and said that the United States will encounter a “bigger threat and harsh suffering” if it doesn’t respond to Kim Jong Un’s deadline for nuclear talks.

People watch a TV showing a file image of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un
People watch a TV showing a file image of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during a news program at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, on Oct. 31, 2019. (Ahn Young-joon/AP Photo)

Last month, North Korea made threats to resume nuclear and long-range missile tests, saying that there’s a “limit to the patience of the DPRK.”

Key Resolve and Foal Eagle military exercises
U.S. Marines (L) and South Korean Marines take positions after landing on the beach during the joint military combined amphibious exercise, called Ssangyong, part of the Key Resolve and Foal Eagle military exercises, in Pohang, South Korea, on March 12, 2016. (Kim Jun-bum/Yonhap via AP)

North Korean representatives met with U.S. officials in Sweden in October, and both parties referred to the outcome of the meeting differently.

A motorcade carrying North Korean delegation heads for Villa Elfvik on the island of Lidingo off Stockholm, Sweden, on Oct. 5, 2019. (Anna Ringstrom/Reuters)

North Korea’s chief nuclear negotiator, Kim Myong Gil said that “The negotiations have not fulfilled our expectation and finally broke off.”

“The U.S. raised expectations by offering suggestions like a flexible approach, new method and creative solutions, but they have disappointed us greatly and dampened our enthusiasm for negotiation by bringing nothing to the negotiation table,” she added.

Trump and Kim DMZ
North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un (L) and US President Donald Trump shake hands during a meeting on the south side of the Military Demarcation Line that divides North and South Korea, in the Joint Security Area (JSA) of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized zone (DMZ) on June 30, 2019. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)

However, a U.S. Department of State press release said that the previously mentioned comments by the North Korean delegation “do not reflect the content or the spirit of today’s 8 1/2 hour discussion,” adding that “The U.S. brought creative ideas and had good discussions with its DPRK counterparts.”

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

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