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World: North Korea tests new weapon 'to improve nukes'

Northern Korea celebrates Kim Jong-one at the head of the North Power Party

 Northern Korea celebrates Kim Jong-one at the head of the North Power Party Kim-Jong-One: North Korea celebrates 10 years of Kim Jong-one At the head of the ruling party © Reuters / KCNA Northern Korea celebrates the 10th anniversary of Kim Jong-one at the head of the ruling party by Josh Smith Seoul (Reuters) - North Korea did the Praise from his leader Kim Jong-one, stunning his nuclear weapon development program and his political achievements, and unveiled new portraits to celebrate his 10 years at the head of the workers' party.

North Korea says it has successfully tested a new weapon, which it says will significantly enhance its tactical nuclear capabilities.

Photos show the country's leader Kim Jong-un smiling and clapping as he watches the new missile's launch.

Experts believe this is a sign that North Korea is planning to test compact nuclear weapon soon - in other words, a tactical nuclear weapon.

North Korea stopped nuclear testing in 2017.

The following year, it blew up tunnels at its Punggye-ri nuclear testing site, in a move that was seen to be part of a diplomatic rapprochement with South Korea and the US.

But recent satellite images suggest work is under way to restore the tunnels.

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The "new-type tactical guided weapon... is of great significance in drastically improving the firepower of the frontline long-range artillery units and enhancing the efficiency in the operation of tactical nukes," the North's official KCNA news agency reported.

It added that Mr Kim had given "important instructions on further building up the defence capabilities and nuclear combat forces of the country".

South Korea's military confirmed that two missiles - likely to be short-range - were launched from the North into the sea on Saturday night.

The US said it was monitoring the situation.

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Experts say the timing of the test could be seen as a protest against joint US and South Korean military drills, which are due to take place for nine days from Monday.

North Korea's tests stir nuclear debate in South

  North Korea's tests stir nuclear debate in South After firing its largest-ever missile, North Korea is preparing to conduct a nuclear test, officials and analysts say, reviving a longstanding debate south of the border: should Seoul have nukes too? - South Korean nukes - Seoul ran a covert nuclear programme in the 1970s, ending it up in return for security guarantees from the United States. America stations 28,500 troops in South Korea to protect against its nuclear-armed neighbour, and has recently ramped up military displays, sending an aircraft carrier close by this week for the first time since 2017.

North Korea has often denounced such drills as a rehearsal for war.

The timing also coincides with events celebrating the anniversary of the birth of North Korea's founder, Kim Il-sung, last Friday.

Just three weeks before the celebrations, North Korea tested an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) for the first time since 2017.

North Korea is banned from testing them and has been heavily sanctioned for doing so before.

It has been conducting other regular missile tests as part of its weapons development programme.

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