North Korea Wants to Replace Pompeo in Future Talks

Kim Yo Jong as she arrived for the opening ceremony for the South Korean Winter Olympics

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Wednesday oversaw a test of a new "tactical guided weapon", the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported on Thursday.

He said, "Chairman Kim Jong Un never promised to stop testing all weapons in his military arsenal".

Satellite images at North Korea's main nuclear site last week showed movement, suggesting the country could be reprocessing radioactive material into bomb fuel.

Speculation has surged in recent days that Kim could hold his first summit meeting with President Vladimir Putin, with the Russian newspaper Izvestia citing a Foreign Ministry source as saying preparations were underway for a summit next week in the Far East city of Vladivostok, while Japan's Fuji News Network showed footage of Kim's protocol chief visiting the city on Wednesday. The comment by a foreign ministry official came a few hours after the country announced the test of what it called a new "tactical" weapon. The wire service quoted North Korea watcher Ankit Panda as saying: "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".

"North Korea is displaying a passive military demonstration with jets and conventional weapons, since they can not provoke US directly with nuclear weapons or long-range missiles", Park Hwi Rak, a political science professor at Kookmin University, in Seoul, told ABC News.

The announcement came as USA -led efforts to persuade the North to abandon its nuclear weapons have stalled after Kim and Trump failed to reach an agreement at their February 27-28 summit in Hanoi, Vietnam.

Pyongyang and Washington have been at loggerheads since the collapse of a summit between Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump earlier this year. KCNA said the weapon has a special way of guiding flight and "a powerful warhead".

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Bruce Klingner, a senior research fellow at the conservative Heritage Foundation, said that North Korea believed it could achieve its goals through Trump and was "trying to wean the president away from his advisers". That visit followed Pompeo's hosting a lavish dinner in NY for North Korea's senior diplomats; the meal featured upscale versions of classic American dishes.

It is likely not, however, a banned ballistic missile test, which would jeopardize diplomatic talks meant to provide the North with concessions in return for disarmament.

Despite the summit failure, Kim and Trump have both stressed their good personal relationship, and Adam Mount of the Federation of American Scientists saw North Korea's recent statements as "its latest play.to sideline US officials to try to speak directly to the president".

There was no immediate response to requests for comment from the White House, Pentagon or US State Department.

Putin has previously expressed positions sympathetic to Kim's regime, saying previous year that Pyongyang must be given guarantees in exchange for de-nuclearisation. USA officials later played down the significance of that test. A South Korean analyst said that details in the North's media report indicate it could have been a new type of cruise missile.

"Looking round the new-type tactical guided weapon, Kim Jong Un was told by officials concerned of the Academy of Defence Science about the formation of the weapon system and its operation mode", the article reads.

KCNA reports the test was "conducted in various modes of firing at different targets".

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