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N Korea at crossroads

North Korea says it succeeded in super-large multiple rocket launch

Kim Jong Un expresses 'satisfaction' to scientists

A North Korean rocket lifts off from a mobile launcher in this undated picture released by the country's Central News Agency on October 31. A rocket similar to this is reported to have landed in the sea between the Korean Peninsula and Japan on the same day.   © Reuters

SEOUL (Reuters) -- North Korea conducted another test of super-large multiple rocket launchers on Thursday afternoon, calling it a success, state news agency KCNA said on Friday.

The latest test of the "super-large multiple rocket launchers," following two tests in August and September of the same weapon that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un oversaw, according to KCNA, indicates the progression of North Korea's weapons development while talks with the United States remain in limbo.

The success of the tests was immediately reported, and Kim Jong Un "expressed satisfaction" and congratulated the scientists who had developed the weapon, KCNA said, indicating that Kim was not at the site.

North Korea's state newspaper, Rodong Sinmun, showed a photo of the multiple rocket launcher, surrounded by yellow flames and smoke.

Thursday's test verified that the "continuous fire system" of the multiple rocket launchers is able to "totally destroy" a group target of the enemy by a surprise strike, KCNA added.

"North Korea is engaged in increasingly escalatory behavior," Republican U.S. Senator Cory Gardner, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy, said in a statement.

"This launch and continued North Korean aggression underscore the need for the Trump Administration to re-commit to the maximum pressure policy" and for Congress to impose additional sanctions against the Kim government, Gardner said.

The weapons test, the first since one day of talks between the United States and North Korea ended without an agreement on Oct. 5 in Sweden, comes as North Korea repeatedly emphasizes an end-of-the-year deadline for denuclearisation talks with Washington that Kim set earlier this year.

Although Kim and and U.S. President Donald Trump have a "special" relationship, "Washington political circles and DPRK policy makers of the U.S. administration are hostile to the DPRK for no reason," a North Korean statement on KCNA said last month.

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