Tue. May 24th, 2022

Leader Kim Jong Un said “military muscle” was needed for self-defense, but repeated weapons tests raised international concerns.

North Korea has confirmed that it carried out its fourth weapons test this month, with two tactical guided missiles – the latest in a series of weapons tests despite a United Nations ban.

The Academy of Defense Sciences conducted a test of tactical guided missiles from the country’s west, and they “hit exactly an island target” on the east coast, North Korea’s state media, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), said on Tuesday .

“The test fire was aimed at selectively evaluating tactically guided missiles manufactured and deployed and at verifying the accuracy of the weapon system,” the KCNA said.

“[It] confirmed the accuracy, security and efficiency of the operation of the weapons system in production. “

The launches were tracked down by both Japan and South Korea, who said the test took place at Pyongyang airport and involved two short-range ballistic missiles.

Earlier this month, the North tested twice what it said were “hypersonic missiles” as well as a railway-mounted ballistic missile.

The tests have aroused international concern, with the United States even calling for stricter sanctions Pyongyang further anger.

Following a call with its South Korean and Japanese counterparts, US Special Representative for North Korea Sung Kim urged Pyongyang to “cease its illegal and destabilizing activities” and reopen dialogue, saying it was open to ” without conditions “, the State Department said.

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UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric also called the North’s tests “increasingly worrying” during a briefing and called on all parties to return to talks to defuse tensions and a “very verifiable de-escalation of the Korean Peninsula” to promote.

North Korea is subject to international sanctions over its banned weapons programs, but has begun testing a range of new weapons after disarmament talks stalled following the collapse of the 2019 summit between leader Kim Jong Un and then-US President Donald Trump.

Kim, who took power a decade ago, has tried to modernize the military, saying more advanced weapons are needed for the country’s self-defense.

During last week’s test of a hypersonic weapon, state media quoted Kim as calling on scientists to step up efforts to reduce the North’s “military muscle”Despite the devastating economic impact of the border closure imposed when the coronavirus pandemic began.

Kim Dong-yup, a former South Korean naval officer who teaches at Kyungnam University in Seoul, told Reuters news agency that the North apparently fired KN-24 SRBMs, which were last tested in March 2020 and 410 km (255 miles). to a maximum altitude of 50 km (31 miles).

The KN-24 looks like the US MGM-140 Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) and is designed to evade missile defense and carry out precision attacks, he said.

“It appears that the North has already deployed and mass production of the KN-24 has begun,” Kim said, referring to the KCNA report.

“But in essence, the test could still be a show of force to underscore their recent warning of action.”

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