N.Korea says it test-fired a mid-range solid-fuel ballistic missile

North Korea successfully test-fired an intermediate-range solid-fuel ballistic missile, state-run news agency KCNA confirmed early Monday, categorizing the launch as part of its “regular activities for developing powerful weapon systems.”

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The missile, which was fired Sunday afternoon, was loaded with a hypersonic maneuverable controlled warhead, according to the outlet.

The point of the launch, it added, was to verify “the gliding and maneuvering characteristics” of the warhead and “reliability of newly developed multi-stage high-thrust solid-fuel engines.”

According to KCNA the test-fire “never affected the security of any neighboring country and had nothing to do with the regional situation.”

However it came just days after Pyongyang staged live-fire exercises near the country’s tense maritime border with South Korea.

The missile flew towards the East Sea travelling approximately 1,000 kilometres (621 miles), Seoul’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement Sunday, adding that authorities in Seoul, Washington and Tokyo were analysing the specifications.

North Korea’s last missile test was of a Hwasong-18 solid-fuel intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), which it fired into the East Sea on December 18.

Leader Kim Jong Un earlier this week branded Seoul his “principal enemy” and warned he would not hesitate to annihilate South Korea, as he toured major weapons factories.

 “The historic time has come at last when we should define as a state most hostile toward the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea the entity called the Republic of Korea (South Korea),” Kim was reported as saying by KCNA.

A shift 

Analysts said at the time that the change in language was notable, signifying a shift in Pyongyang’s approach to an “ultra-hawkish mode”.

Relations between the two Koreas are at one of their lowest points in decades, after Kim enshrined the country’s permanent status as a nuclear power into the constitution and test-fired several advanced ICBMs.

Meanwhile traditional allies Russia and North Korea have recently boosted ties, with Kim making a rare overseas trip to see President Vladimir Putin in Russia’s far east in September.

On Sunday a North Korean government delegation headed by Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui left for an official visit to Russia, KCNA reported.

Last year, Pyongyang successfully put a reconnaissance satellite into orbit, after receiving what South Korea claimed was Russian assistance, in exchange for arms shipments for Moscow’s war in Ukraine.

Despite its difficult economic situation, Pyongyang conducted a record-breaking series of weapons tests in 2023, including its first solid-fuel ballistic missile — which experts called a major technological breakthrough.


Source: Thanks france24