Pyongyang tested ballistic missiles on the same day that Seoul became the first non-nuclear country to test a submarine ballistic missile (SLBM).
The missiles fired by North Korea were a test of a new “rail-borne missile system” designed as a possible counterattack on any forces threatening the country, the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported on Thursday.
The missiles flew 800 km (497 miles) before hitting a target in the sea off the east coast of North Korea on Wednesday, KCNA said.
South Korean and Japanese authorities said on Wednesday that they had discovered two ballistic missiles from North Korea, just days after testing a long-range missile that, according to analysts, has nuclear capability.
The two Koreas were in an increasingly heated arms race, with both sides revealing capable missiles and other weapons.
The tests by North Korea on nuclear weapons have caused international condemnation and concern, but the United States has said it violates UN Security Council resolutions and poses a threat to Pyongyang’s neighbors.
North Korea is constantly developing its weapons systems, increasing its commitment to stalled talks aimed at dismantling its nuclear and ballistic missile arsenals in exchange for US easing of sanctions.
The North Korean test was carried out by a rail-borne missile regiment organized earlier this year, the KCNA report said.
Pak Jong Chon, a North Korean marshal and a member of the presidency of the Politburo, said: Workers’ party of Korea, which oversaw the test, according to KCNA.
‘(Pak) said that the deployment of the railway missile system for action in accordance with the rules and policies on the modernization of the army set out at the eighth congress of our party, is of great significance to the war deterrent of to increase the country, ”said the KCNA.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un did not oversee the test firing, the report said.
‘Cheap and reliable’
Photos published by state media show how an olive green missile on a column of smoke and flame rose from the roof of a train parked on tracks in a mountainous area.
South Korea reported that the missiles were fired from the central interior of Yangdok.
“Mobile track missiles are a relatively inexpensive and reliable option for countries that want to improve the survival of their nuclear powers,” Adam Mount, a senior fellow at the Federation of American Scientists, said on Twitter. “Russia did it. The US considered it. It makes a lot of sense for North Korea. ”
Mount and other analysts said the system was likely to be limited by North Korea’s relatively limited and sometimes unreliable rail network, but that it could add another complicated layer for a foreign military that wants to track down and destroy the missiles before it. fired.
NEW South Korea has launched a ballistic missile from a submarine and is now the 7th country for a home-developed ballistic missile system launched by submarines. The test comes hours after North Korea fired short-range missiles. pic.twitter.com/6GBCBTS6d2
– Disclose.tv (@disclosetv) 15 September 2021
According to KCNA, Pak said there are plans to expand the rail-borne missile regiment to a brigade-sized force in the near future and to conduct training to gain “operational experience for real war”.
The military must prepare tactical plans for the implementation of the system in different parts of the country, Pak said.
It is unusual to see the wide range of missile delivery systems and launch platforms that North Korea is developing, says Ankit Panda, a senior fellow member of the American Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
“It is not very cost-effective (especially for a severely limited state) and much more operationally complicated than a slimmer, vertically integrated force,” he said on Twitter.
The test of the rail system unveiled on Wednesday could potentially be the basis for the development of one that could launch a larger, nuclear-armed intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), Panda added.
He also noted that some of the missile systems displayed by North Korea may be ‘technological demonstration’, which may not be fully deployed.