North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has overseen the testing of a "newly developed ultramodern tactical weapon", Pyongyang's state media reported yesterday, a move seen by analysts as more of a political message than a serious provocation.
It marked the first official report of a weapons test by North Korea since it began a delicate diplomatic process with Washington over its nuclear and missile programme.
South Korea's Yonhap news agency, quoting an unidentified government source, said the weapon could be a long-range cannon that the North has been developing for many years.
Pyongyang's suspension of testing for atomic weapons and ballistic missiles has been key to this year's rapid diplomatic developments and North Korea-US negotiations, and has been repeatedly praised by President Donald Trump.
Trump and Kim met at a historic summit in Singapore in June, where they signed a vaguely worded document on denuclearisation of the peninsula.
Hours after the KCNA report, the US State Department said it was "confident" the process remained on track.
Shin Beom-chul, an analyst at the Asan Institute of Policy Studies, said the test was likely aimed at sending "a political message" to Washington about the current stalemate.