Earlier, Kim Dong-yub, a military expert at Kyungnam University’s Institute of Far Eastern Studies in Seoul, said the newly tested weapon was likely a short-range cruise missile that could be launched from the ground, sea and air.
Kim oversaw the test of an unidentified tactical weapon in November.
Experts said in November Kim wanted to shift the mainstay of the North’s conventional military power from a nearly 1.3 million-strong army to high-tech weapons.
The young leader said last April that he would stop nuclear tests and launches of intercontinental ballistic missiles because the nuclear capabilities of North Korea, which has tested nuclear devices six times, had been verified.
“This does serve as a useful reminder of one critical fact: Chairman Kim Jong Un never promised to stop testing all weapons in his military arsenal, just nuclear weapons and ICBMs that have the potential to hit the U.S. homeland,” said Harry Kazianis of the Washington-based Center for the National Interest.
A U.S. official said that, according initial information, U.S. forces did not detect a missile launch from North Korea. Checks were underway, said the official.
Referring to the test, a White House official said: “We are aware of the report and have no further comment.”
South Korea’s presidential Blue House declined to comment on the test, referring questions to the defense ministry. It said it was analyzing the nature of the weapon and North Korea’s intentions.
Kim’s visit to the testing site came after he visited the North Korean Air and Anti-aircraft Force on Tuesday, according to KCNA.
Kyungnam University’s Kim Dong-yub said the latest test appeared to partly be a message to the United States that North Korea would not bow to sanctions.
“It’s also an internal message to the North Korean people and to the military” to instill trust in their own security by reinforcing conventional weapons, he said.
Satellite images from last week showed movement at Yongbyon, North Korea’s main nuclear site, that could be associated with the reprocessing of radioactive material into bomb fuel, the Center for Strategic and International Studies in the United States said on Tuesday.
U.S. national security adviser John Bolton said in a Bloomberg News interview on Wednesday the United States needed to see “a real indication from North Korea that they’ve made the strategic decision to give up nuclear weapons” before a third summit between Trump and Kim.