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North Korea says it tested hypersonic missile

Agence France-Presse
North Korea says it tested hypersonic missile
This picture taken on September 28, 2021 and released from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on September 29 shows the Academy of Defence Science of the DPRK test-firing a hypersonic missile Hwasong-8 newly developed by it in Toyang-ri, Ryongrim County of Jagang Province, North Korea. North Korea has successfully tested a new hypersonic gliding missile, state media reported Wednesday, in what would be the nuclear-armed nation's latest advance in weapons technology. Tuesday's launch was of "great strategic significance", the official Korean Central News Agency said, as the North seeks to increase its defence capabilities a "thousand-fold".
STR / KCNA VIA KNS / AFP

SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea has successfully tested a new hypersonic gliding missile, state media reported Wednesday, in what would be the nuclear-armed nation's latest advance in weapons technology.

Tuesday's launch was of "great strategic significance", the official Korean Central News Agency said, as the North seeks to increase its defence capabilities a "thousand-fold".

Hypersonic missiles move far faster and are more agile than ordinary ones, making them much harder for missile defence systems — on which the US is spending billions — to intercept.

The launch from Jagang province "confirmed the navigational control and stability of the missile", along with its "guiding manoeuvrability and the gliding flight characteristics of the detached hypersonic gliding warhead" and the engine, according to KCNA.

"The test results proved that all the technical specifications met the design requirements", it added.

The launch of the missile, which it identified as the Hwasong-8, was watched by top official Pak Jong Chon, it said, making no mention of leader Kim Jong Un.

The official Rodong Sinmun newspaper carried a picture of the weapon — with a set of guidance fins at the base of its nose cone — ascending into the morning sky.

The South's military had announced the launch shortly after it happened on Tuesday, but it did not officially reveal the missile's maximum altitude and flight distance afterwards, information that it normally makes available within around an hour.

South Korean media reports cited unidentified sources saying the projectile had "different flight features" from previous launches and President Moon Jae-in called for "comprehensive analysis" of the event.

Both Koreas are building up their weapons capabilities in what could become an arms race on the divided peninsula, with ramifications for neighbouring Japan and China and the wider region.

The nuclear-armed North, which invaded the South in 1950, is under multiple international sanctions over its banned nuclear weapon and ballistic missile programmes, and earlier this month said it had tested a long-range cruise missile.

Developing the hypersonic missile was one of five "top priority" tasks in the five-year plan for strategic weapons, KCNA said.

Submarine launch

Seoul is also spending billions on military development and this month successfully test-fired a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) for the first time, making it one of a handful of nations with the advanced technology.

On Tuesday, it held a ceremony to launch its third SLBM submarine.

Washington and Seoul are security allies and the United States stations around 28,500 troops in the South to protect it from its neighbour.

Talks between Pyongyang and Washington have been largely at a standstill since a 2019 summit in Hanoi between leader Kim and then-president Donald Trump collapsed over sanctions relief and what North Korea would be willing to give up in return.

Pyongyang has since then repeatedly excoriated the South and its president Moon, and blown up a liaison office on its side of the border that Seoul had built.

The administration of President Joe Biden — which condemned Tuesday's launch as a sanctions violation and a threat to the international community — has repeatedly said that it is willing to meet North Korean officials anywhere, at any time, without preconditions, in its efforts to seek denuclearisation.

But the North has not shown any willingness to give up its arsenal, which it says it needs to defend itself against a US invasion.

NORTH KOREA

NUCLEAR WEAPONS

As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: January 1, 2023 - 10:04am

South Korean officials were briefing the White House Thursday on the outcome of their pathfinding meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Seoul has already publicized that North Korea offered talks with the United States on denuclearization and normalizing ties, a potential diplomatic opening after a year of escalating tensions over the North's nuclear and missile tests. The rival Koreas also agreed to hold a leadership summit in late April.

Top Trump administration officials were getting a chance to hear firsthand from South Korean national security director, Chung Eui-yong, who led the delegation that went to Pyongyang. — Associated Press

January 1, 2023 - 10:04am

North Korea's Kim Jong Un has called for a major increase in the country's nuclear arsenal, including mass producing tactical nuclear weapons and developing new missiles for nuclear counterstrikes, state media said Sunday.

In a report at the end of a key party meeting in Pyongyang, Kim called "for an exponential increase of the country's nuclear arsenal", the official KCNA reported.

Citing what it called US and South Korean hostility, the report said the North needed "mass-producing of tactical nuclear weapons" and to "develop another ICBM (intercontinental ballistic missile) system whose main mission is quick nuclear counterstrike".

Military tensions on the Korean peninsula rose sharply in 2022 as the North conducted sanctions-busting weapons tests nearly every month, including firing its most advanced intercontinental ballistic missile ever.

It capped its record-breaking year of launches by firing three short range ballistic missiles early Saturday, and conducting another rare late-night launch at 2:50 am (1750 GMT Saturday) on Sunday, Seoul's military said.

The official KCNA reported Sunday that the launches had been "a test-fire of the super-large multiple rocket launchers". — AFP

December 31, 2022 - 9:47am

Seoul's military say North Korea fired at least one "unspecified ballistic missile" Saturday morning.

"North Korea fires an unidentified ballistic missile into (the) East Sea," South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff says, referring to the body of water also known as the Sea of Japan. — AFP

December 29, 2022 - 7:01pm

President Yoon Suk-yeol said Thursday that South Korea must boost its preparedness to respond to airspace intrusions after the military failed to shoot down five North Korean drones that crossed the border.

The Monday intrusion by the drones -- one of which flew close to the capital Seoul -- prompted the South's military to deploy fighter jets and attack helicopters.

But despite a five-hour operation, the military failed to shoot down the North Korean drones, prompting widespread criticism over the response and an apology from the country's defence minister.

Yoon said the incident was "intolerable" and added that the South should ensure that Pyongyang "realise that provocations are always met with harsh consequences".

"In order for us to achieve peace, we need to make overwhelmingly superior war preparations," he said during a visit to the state-run Agency for Defence Development.

"The overall response system against all flying objects invading our airspace, on top of drones, must be re-examined to quickly make up for deficiencies." -- AFP

December 29, 2022 - 5:11pm

President Yoon Suk-yeol says Thursday that South Korea must boost its preparedness to respond to airspace intrusions after the military failed to shoot down five North Korean drones that crossed the border.

The Monday intrusion by the drones -- one of which flew close to the capital Seoul -- prompted the South's military to deploy fighter jets and attack helicopters.

But despite a five-hour-long operation, the military failed to shoot down the North Korean drones, prompting widespread criticism over the response and an apology from the country's military. — AFP

December 28, 2022 - 1:37pm

State media reports Kim Jong Un announced new goals for North Korea's military in a report to party leaders, hinting that sanctions-busting weapons tests will continue next year.

Kim is currently presiding over a major party meeting in capital Pyongyang, during which the top leader and other senior party officials outline their policy goals for 2023 in key areas including diplomacy, security and the economy.

Kim "set forth new key goals for bolstering up the self-reliant defence capability to be pushed ahead with in 2023," the official Korean Central News Agency reports Wednesday, without giving any details. — AFP

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