- Kim on Tuesday paid a surprise visit to an Air Force base to inspect fighter combat.
- The military-related posturing comes after Kim expressed deep disappointment earlier this month.
- U.S. military officials said they did not detect any significant missile launches on Wednesday and the North’s description of the “newly developed ultramodern tactical weapon”
TOKYO – North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is cautiously turning up the heat after his unsuccessful summit with President Donald Trump in Hanoi two months ago breaking News today.
Returning to military optics for the first time in five months, Kim on Tuesday paid a surprise visit to an Air Force base to inspect fighter combat readiness and followed that up the next day by supervising the test of what the North’s official media described ominously but ambiguously — and without any photos or video — as a new type of “tactical guided weapon.”
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.
It also comes amid reports that Kim may hold his first summit with Putin next week in Vladivostok, in the Russian Far East.
Putin has been something of an outsider over the past year as Kim has held multiple summits with the leaders of China, the United States and South Korea.
But he could provide important political cover or economic aid for Pyongyang — and a potential headache for Trump — if he chooses to play a bigger role.
Though Kim claims he still has a good personal relationship with the U.S. president, he and senior North Korean officials have shown increasing frustration with Trump’s top advisers, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and national security adviser John Bolton.
“The Hanoi summit gives us a lesson that whenever Pompeo pokes his nose in, the talks go wrong without any results even from the point close to success,” Kwon Jong Gun, director general of the American desk at the North’s Foreign Ministry, was quoted as saying on Thursday.
In an address to the Supreme People’s Assembly, the North’s version of parliament, Kim gave the U.S. until the end of the year to come up with a more mutually acceptable negotiation strategy.
For Pyongyang, that would mean lifting the sanctions it has imposed against the North over its development of nuclear weapons and missiles capable of reaching the U.S. mainland.
Kim indicated, however, that he would in the meantime maintain his self-imposed moratorium on nuclear tests and long-range missile launches and he appears to be standing by that vow.
U.S. military officials said they did not detect any significant missile launches on Wednesday and the North’s description of the “newly developed ultramodern tactical weapon” suggested it might have instead been an anti-tank guided missile or other short-range system.
If so, it was likely intended to be a response to recent military drills by U.S. and South Korea.