Mon. Jan 24th, 2022

North Korea said on Saturday it had tested ballistic missiles from a train in what looked like a apparent retaliation against new sanctions imposed by the United States.

North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said the exercise was aimed at reviewing and assessing “the missile in the action procedures” of the missile, adding that the two guided missiles were a target in the Baltic Sea. hit.

South Korea’s Yonhap news agency quoted its military as saying that the latest projectiles flew about 430 km (267 miles) at an altitude of 36 km (22 miles) and a top speed of Mach 6 (7,350 kilometers per hour). has, six times the speed of sound.

The report by the North Korean state media comes a day after South Korea’s army said on Friday that they had tracked down the firing of two missiles into the sea by its neighbor in what became the third weapons launch this month.

The launch came hours after Pyongyang’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement complaining US for imposing new sanctions on North’s previous tests and warned against stronger and more explicit action if Washington maintains its “confrontational stance.”

In recent months, North Korea has stepped up tests of new missiles designed to overwhelm missile defense in the region amid pandemic-related border closures and a freezing point in nuclear diplomacy with the US.

Some experts say North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is returning to a tried-and-true technique of putting pressure on neighboring countries and the US with missile launches and outrageous threats before negotiating concessions aimed at withdrawing concessions.

KCNA said Friday’s exercise was aimed at checking the alert attitude of its army’s missile missile regiment.

The troops moved quickly to the launch site after receiving the missile test order at short notice and firing two “tactically guided” missiles that hit a sea target accurately, the report said.

North Korea’s Rodong Sinmun newspaper published photos of what appeared to be two different missiles soaring from top of railroad cars engulfed in smoke.

Cheong Seong-chang, an analyst at the private Sejong Institute in South Korea, said North Korea was likely to hold a launch that was not previously planned to demonstrate its opposition to US sanctions.

Solid fuel short range weapon

The missiles fired from railroads appear to be a solid-fuel short-range weapon that North Korea apparently modeled according to Russia’s Iskander mobile ballistic system.

The missile, first tested in 2019, is designed to be maneuverable and fly at low altitudes, potentially improving its chances of evading and defeating missile systems.

North Korea first launched these missiles from a train in September last year as part of its efforts to diversify its launch options, which now include multiple vehicles and may eventually include submarines, depending on the country’s progress in its pursuit. to such abilities.

Firing a missile from a train can add mobility, but some experts say North Korea’s simple rail networks that run through its relatively small area will be quickly destroyed by enemies during a crisis.

The Biden administration on Wednesday imposed sanctions on five North Koreans for their role in procuring equipment and technology for their country’s missile programs – a response to North Korea’s previous tests this month.

The announcement by the Treasury Department comes just hours after North Korea said Kim oversaw a successful test of a hypersonic missile on Tuesday which he claimed would significantly increase the country’s nuclear “war deterrent”. Tuesday’s test was North Korea’s second demonstration of its alleged hypersonic missile in a week.

Hours before Friday’s launch, the KCNA carried a statement attributed to an unidentified spokesman for North Korea’s foreign ministry, who insisted that the new sanctions highlight hostile US intent aimed at defeating the country. “isolate and suffocate”.

Hypersonic weapons, flying at speeds above Mach 5 (6 125 km / h), or five times the speed of sound, can pose a crucial missile defense challenge due to their speed and maneuverability.

Such weapons were on a wish list of sophisticated military assets that Kim unveiled early last year, along with multi-explosive missiles, espionage satellites, solid-fuel long-range missiles and submarine-launched nuclear missiles.

Still, experts say North Korea will need years along with more successful and longer-distance tests before acquiring a credible hypersonic system.

A US-led diplomatic push aimed at persuading North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons program collapsed in 2019 after the Trump administration demanded Pyongyang’s major sanctions easing in exchange for a partial surrender of its rejected nuclear power capability.

Kim has since promised to further expand a nuclear arsenal he clearly sees as his strongest guarantee of survival, despite the country’s economy suffering severe setbacks amid pandemic-related border closures and persistent US-led sanctions.

His government has so far Biden administration’s call to resume dialogue without preconditions, saying that the US should first abandon its “hostile policy”, a term that Pyongyang uses primarily to describe sanctions and combined US-South Korea military exercises.

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