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WASHINGTON — North Korea tested a new type of tactical guided weapon on Wednesday, state media Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said Thursday morning local time.
The test of "a powerful warhead" was overseen by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and marks the first public weapons test from the rogue regime since President Donald Trump's historic meeting with Kim in Singapore last year.
The White House and Pentagon did not immediately respond to CNBC's request for comment. A U.S. defense official said that U.S. Strategic Command did not detect a missile launch from North Korea.
"This is a volatile country that holds the entire world at risk but, at this point, it just seems like a bunch of propaganda and a way to remind the Trump administration why they were negotiating in the first place," Alexandra Bell, senior policy director at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation told CNBC.
"And obviously the North Koreans have been pressuring the administration for sanctions relief so I would see them as putting this little measure on the table to enhance their negotiating position if Trump and Kim sit down again," Bell added.
North Korea, the only nation to have tested nuclear weapons this century, spent most of Trump's first year in office perfecting its nuclear arsenal. The newest member of the world's exclusive nuclear weapons club has stopped testing of its nukes for now as the U.S. and international community offer the possibility of relief from crippling economic sanctions.
While North Korea has paused nuclear tests that prompted Trump's threat to bring "fire and fury" upon that country, it had already made significant progress before the historic dialogue with the U.S. started.
Under the third-generation North Korean leader, the reclusive state has conducted its most powerful nuclear test, launched its first-ever intercontinental ballistic missile and threatened to send missiles into the waters near the U.S. territory of Guam.
Since 2011, Kim has fired more than 85 missiles and four nuclear weapons tests, which is more than what his father, Kim Jong Il, and grandfather, Kim Il Sung, launched over a period of 27 years.