Sat. Jan 22nd, 2022

Second test of advanced weaponry underscores Pyongyang’s commitment to modernize its military despite UN ban.

North Korea said Wednesday’s missile test was a hypersonic weapon and that it successfully hit its target.

The launch, detected by Japan and South Korea, was the first since October and the second of a hypersonic missile, despite a United Nations ban on such activities.

Unlike ballistic missiles that fly into outer space before returning to steep orbits, hypersonic weapons fly to targets at lower altitudes and can reach speeds of more than five times the speed of sound – or about 6,200 kilometers per hour (3,850 miles per hour). ).

“The successive successes of the test launches in the hypersonic missile sector have strategic significance because they hasten a task of modernization. [the] strategic armed force of the state, ”the state news agency KCNA said.

In Wednesday’s test, the “hypersonic glider” detached from its rocket amplifier and maneuvered 120 km (75 miles) sideways before hitting a target “exactly” 700 km (435 miles) away, KCNA reported.

The test also confirmed components such as flight control and its ability to work in the winter, he added.

The missile demonstrated its ability to combine “multi-step gliding flight and strong lateral maneuvering,” KCNA said.

Although it has not tested nuclear bombs or long-range intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) since 2017, in recent years North Korea has developed and launched a series of more mobile missiles and warheads that are likely aimed at overcoming missile defenses such as those used by South Korea and the United States, analysts said.

The country first has a hypersonic missile, the Hwasong-8, in September.

“My impression is that the North Koreans have identified hypersonic gliders as a potentially useful qualitative way of handling missile defense,” Ankit Panda, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in the United States, told Reuters news agency. said.

New missile

Hypersonic weapons are considered to be the next generation of weapons aimed at robbing opponents of reaction time and traditional defeat mechanisms.

Photos from Wednesday’s test showed what analysts said was a liquid-propelled ballistic missile with a conical maneuverable Reentry Vehicle (MaRV) blowing off in a cloud of flames and smoke from a wheeled launch vehicle.

It’s a different version from the weapon tested last year, and was first unveiled at a defense show in Pyongyang in October, Panda said.

“They have probably set up at least two separate development programs,” he added. “One of these was the Hwasong-8, which was tested in September. This missile, which has some features in common with the Hwasong-8, is different. “

The U.S. State Department said this week’s test violated several UN Security Council resolutions and posed a threat to North Korea’s neighbors and the international community.

North Korea’s last missile launch was in October when it said it fired a new short-range missile from a submarine.

That ballistic missile submarine returned to the safe boat dock at the Sinpho South shipyard, after a brief period of hull maintenance after that test, 38 North, a Washington-based program monitoring North Korea, reported Thursday.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un speaks to officials at a defense exhibition in October 2020 in front of a rocker with a white nose cone on a launcher and a North Korean flag North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (center) speaks to officials during a visit to the ‘Self-Defense 2021’ defense development exhibition in Pyongyang last October 2021. Analyst Ankit Panda says the hypersonic weapon tested on Wednesday was first seen at the show unveiled. [File: KCNA via EPA]

Talks aimed at persuading North Korea to surrender its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile arsenal have been halted since a series of summits between leader Kim Jong-un and then-US President Donald Trump collapsed in 2019.

U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration said it was open to talking to North Korea, but Pyongyang said U.S. revelation was empty rhetoric without any significant changes to “hostile policies” such as military exercises and sanctions.

The latest test has raised doubts about South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s hopes for an eleven-hour diplomatic breakthrough with North Korea before its five-year term ends in May.

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