- North Korea claims to have made further progress in developing hypersonic missiles capable of making nuclear weapons.
- State-controlled media reported on Wednesday that Governor Kim Jong Un followed up on a hypersonic missile test conducted by the Academy of Defense Sciences on Tuesday.
- The North Korean ruler praised the “great success” in developing such weapons.
- The neighboring countries of South Korea and Japan had already reported another missile test conducted by North Korea on Tuesday night, in the second such test in a week.
According to observers, the recent test highlighted the country’s intent to modernize its weapons systems. This is the third time since last September that North Korea has claimed to have tested a hypersonic missile.
Hypersonic weapons are particularly difficult to intercept because they can reach more than five times the speed of sound and are maneuverable. So-called hypersonic gliders can be launched from ballistic missiles. UN resolutions prohibit North Korea from testing ballistic missiles, which, depending on their design, can carry a nuclear warhead.
Doubts about technical progress
According to North Korean media reports, “the superior maneuverability of the hypersonic glider was more clearly demonstrated by the latest test launch” in the last test. The development of such weapons is one of the “five core tasks” of the five-year plan to expand defense capabilities that was put in place last year.
South Korea and Japan on Tuesday reported a suspected ballistic missile test by North Korea. South Korean experts have talked about possible technical improvements compared to last week’s North Korean missile test.
Kim wants to speed up the modernization of the army
Kim Jong-un called on North Korea to intensify its armament efforts on the occasion of the missile test. According to the Korean Central News Agency, Kim appealed to military scientists to speed up the quantitative and qualitative modernization of the army.
The European Union condemned the test on Tuesday evening and called on North Korea to respond constructively to the negotiating offers.
But the South Korean Defense Ministry disputed the information provided by North Korea on Tuesday that the missile flew 700 km. According to the Defense Ministry, the test does not represent a technical progress compared to the launch of the missile in September.
For years, the communist leadership in Pyongyang has been primarily promoting the development of missiles that could be equipped with nuclear warheads. Therefore, it is subject to severe international sanctions.
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