North Korea claims it has launched a “guided” missile with solid fuel engine
North Korea announced today that it had launched a “tactical, guided” missile with a solid fuel engine in the Sea of Japan on Thursday.
The launch was supervised by senior official Ri Pyong Chol, who said the weapon’s trial was “of great significance in bolstering up the military power of the country,” according to the official KCNA news agency.
Yesterday, Pyongyang fired two missiles from its east coast. The Prime Minister of Japan Yoshihide Suga stated that these were ballistic missiles.
The country is subject to international sanctions due to its programs for the development of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles, while decisions of the United Nations Security Council theoretically prohibit it from continuing these programs.
US President Joe Biden has ruled that UN Security Council Resolution 1718 “was violated by the test of these missiles”.
The KCNA clarified that the two projectiles, which it avoided characterizing as missiles, hit the designated targets, 600 kilometers from the coast, while each can carry a payload of 2.5-tons.
The official Rodong Sinmun newspaper released photos of officials without masks celebrating and congratulating each other after the launches.
The test of this new type of “tactical” short-range ballistic missile underscores, according to expert estimates, the progress made by the Asian state in the field of armaments and moves the North Korean issue to the top of the agenda of Joe Biden’s foreign policy.
The White House and the State Department condemned the “destabilizing” launches, which took place just hours before the first press conference given by the US president since taking office on January 20.
Analysts say the missiles were the same as those presented at a military parade in the capital, Pyongyang, last October.
“If this is the case, they (North Korea) seem to have an improved variant of the previously tested KN-23 missile with ‘a really big warhead’,” said Jeffrey Lewis from CNS Institute to Reuters.
Such a new missile would allow North Korea to use heavier nuclear warheads in its missiles,” said Vipin Narang, a professor of security studies at MIT, on Twitter.
The development of miniaturised nuclear warheads is difficult, although some observers believe that North Korea already has this capability.
With information from: ANA MPA / BBC / Reuters
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