North Korea successfully tested a hypersonic glider missile on Tuesday, the official KCNA news agency said on Wednesday, which touted the test as a major technological breakthrough.
The success of this trial is “of great strategic importance” as Pyongyang seeks to “multiply by a thousand” its defense capabilities, KCNA said.
Hypersonic missiles are much faster than conventional ballistic or cruise missiles. They are also much more difficult to detect and intercept by missile defense systems, on which the United States spends billions of dollars.
“Multiply by a thousand”
The test, carried out from Jagang province in the north of the country, “confirmed the navigation control and stability of the missile” as well as “the maneuverability of its guidance system and the glide characteristics of the missile. ‘detached hypersonic warhead,’ KCNA said.
“The test results proved that all technical specifications met the design requirements,” the statement added.
The launch of the missile, identified as the Hwasong-8, was overseen by a senior member of the North Korean state apparatus, Pak Jong Chon, according to the statement, which did not mention leader Kim Jong-un.
The official Rodong Sinmun newspaper published a photo of the craft, fitted with a set of guide vanes, rising into the morning sky.
The South Korean army had announced the launch of a projectile by the North shortly after detecting it Tuesday morning. But unlike usual, she did not officially disclose the maximum altitude reached by the missile or the distance traveled, information that Seoul generally makes public within the hour.
According to South Korean media, the projectile launched on Tuesday by North Korea had “different flight characteristics” from the previous ones. South Korean President Moon Jae-In has called for a “comprehensive analysis” of the event.
Pyongyang had already carried out several other missile hits this month, one involving long-range cruise missiles and another, according to the South Korean military, short-range ballistic missiles.
The North is subject to multiple international sanctions over its banned nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs, and said earlier this month it has tested a long-range cruise missile.
The development of the hypersonic missile is one of the five “priority” tasks of the five-year strategic weapons plan, according to KCNA.
The two Koreas are stepping up their military capabilities in what could turn out to be an arms race on the divided peninsula.
Seoul also spends billions of dollars on military development and this month successfully completed the first test firing of a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM), making it one of the few nations to have this advanced technology. On Tuesday, she held a ceremony for the launch of her third SLBM submarine.
Washington and Seoul are linked by a security treaty, and the United States is stationing around 28,500 troops in the South to protect it from its neighbor.
Pyongyang is now more isolated than ever since its borders were closed early last year to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
His talks with the United States have stalled since the failure of the 2019 summit in Hanoi between Kim Jong-un and the then US president Donald Trump.
Since Kim Jong-un took over as head of the country, weapons programs have progressed, but Pyongyang has not carried out any nuclear tests or intercontinental ballistic missile fire since 2017.
The Biden administration, which condemned Tuesday’s launch as a violation of sanctions and a threat to the international community, has repeatedly said it is willing to meet with North Korean officials anywhere, anytime, and unconditionally. prerequisites, as part of its denuclearization efforts.
But the North has shown no willingness to give up its arsenal, which it says it needs to defend itself in the event of an American invasion.