The Yonhap news agency earlier reported, citing South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff that Pyongyang had launched what is believed to be short-range ballistic missiles off its eastern coast. The projectiles were fired from the city of Hamhung and flew around 400 kilometres (249 miles) at a maximum altitude of 48 kilometres before falling into the Sea of Japan. Notably, the UN Security Council has banned North Korea from developing its ballistic missile programme.
According to the KCNA, North Korean defence scientists created a "new weapon system" and upon receiving a report on it, Kim instructed the military to test it immediately.
North Korea's head of state reportedly personally supervised the test from a launching site. After the test-fire, Kim reportedly expressed great satisfaction that his country had developed another new weapon.
The agency did not unveil any characteristics of the weapon, only noting that, according to Kim, it had been developed to suit the country's terrain.
Later, the agency published a statement by Kwon Jong-gun, the director-general of the North Korean Foreign Ministry’s Department of American Affairs, slamming the ongoing US-South Korean military drills, which Pyongyang says triggered its move to resume missile launches. In particular, the diplomat called the drills an impediment to the inter-Korean talks.
"Given that the military exercise clearly puts us as an enemy in its concept, they should think that an inter-Korean contact itself will be difficult to be made unless they put an end to such a military exercise or before they make a plausible excuse or an explanation in a sincere manner for conducting the military exercise", the statement said.
Saturday’s test is the second launch conducted by Pyongyang over the past week and the fifth launch carried out since 25 July. Pyongyang describes the launches as a warning to South Korea and the United States to stop their drills, which Kim says violate the June 2018 agreement between him and President Donald Trump to cease such exercises.