The weapons launches, overseen by Kim Jong-un, come as the United States and South Korea warn North Korea could soon resume nuclear tests.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un witnessed the test firing of a “new tactical guided weapon” designed to boost the country’s nuclear capabilities, state media reported.

The report came as South Korea and the United States warned that Pyongyang could soon resume nuclear tests, while Kim Jong Un broke a self-imposed moratorium after launching an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) test last month.

The KCNA news agency said the latest weapons test “has great significance for greatly increasing the firepower of long-range artillery units on the frontline and improving the operational efficiency of tactical nuclear weapons”.

It did not say when the test took place or provide details on the missiles involved.

Kim Jong Un, who directed the test, “gives important instructions on further strengthening the country’s defense capabilities and nuclear combat capabilities,” it added.

Photos published by Rodong Sinmun showed Kim smiling — surrounded by uniformed officials — and clapping as he watched what it said was the weapon’s test firing.

South Korea’s military confirmed the weapons launch, saying earlier on Sunday that it had detected two projectiles fired into the sea from North Korea’s east coast late Saturday.

It said the projectiles had flown about 110 kilometers (68 miles) with an apogee of 25 kilometers and a top speed of less than Mach 4.

In this undated photo released by the Korean Central News Agency on April 16, 2022, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un reacts as he test-fires a new tactical guided weapon [KCNA via Reuters]

The weapon is likely to be a short-range ballistic missile and North Korea’s first tactical nuclear weapons delivery system, said Angie Panda, a senior fellow at the U.S.-based Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

“This test of the tactical nuclear delivery system comes at a time of growing indicators of major reconstruction work at North Korea’s Punggye-ri nuclear test site,” he said.

The site, in the far northeast of the country, is where North Korea has conducted all six of its nuclear tests.

It closed in 2018 ahead of Kim Jong Un’s first round of talks with then-US President Donald Trump.

Those talks broke down in 2019.

An image taken by a commercial satellite in March showed signs of new activity in a tunnel there, and officials and analysts said North Korea could conduct a seventh nuclear test in the coming weeks.

North Korea’s weapons tests have taught its people that their country is strong, said Duyeon Kim, a North Korea expert at the Center for a New American Security.

One reason for the latest test timing could be protests against joint U.S.-South Korea military exercises expected to begin on Monday, she added.

U.S. Special Representative Kim Sung will also be in Seoul on the same day for a five-day visit to discuss with his South Korean counterparts the response to North Korea’s recent missile launch.

The United States has said it is willing to negotiate with North Korea at any time and without conditions, but Pyongyang has so far rejected those offers, accusing Washington of maintaining hostile policies such as sanctions and military exercises.

The KCNA report on the new weapons test also came shortly after North Korea celebrated the 110th birthday of late founder Kim Il Sung, one of the country’s biggest annual public holidays, without a military parade.

South Korean officials have said that Pyongyang can still hold a military parade or conduct weapons tests around April 25, the anniversary of the founding of the Korean People’s Army.