North Korea has successfully conducted a test aimed at developing missiles carrying multiple warheads, state media agency KCNA reports.

The country said the test was carried out yesterday using the first-stage, solid-fuel engine of an intermediate-range ballistic missile.

KCNA said the missile succeeded in separating warheads in a test that was aimed at developing multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicle (MIRV) technology.

“The purpose was to secure the capability to destroy individual targets using multiple warheads,” it said.

What else happened this week?

The dispatch comes a day after South Korea’s military said North Korea had launched what appeared to be a hypersonic missile off its east coast that exploded in mid-air.

South Korea, the US and Japan condemned that launch as a violation of UN Security Council resolutions and a serious threat, and warned against additional provocations in the wake of last week’s summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and Vladimir Putin.

Today, the US, Japan and S Korea began large-scale joint military drills involving navy destroyers, fighter jets and the nuclear-powered US aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt, aimed at boosting defence against missiles, submarines and air attacks.

During Mr Putin’s first visit to North Korea in 24 years, the two leaders signed a mutual defence pact, which Mr Kim lauded as an alliance, but which South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol called “anachronistic”.