Weapons can be buffed secretly, giving opponents less time to strike first
North Korea said on Friday it had successfully tested a solid-fuel intercontinental ballistic missile for the first time.
The rocket was launched on Thursday morning near the capital Pyongyang, triggering an evacuation order on the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido. He landed in the sea between Japan and the Korean Peninsula.
North Korea’s state news agency KCNA described the launch as a “miracle success” that gave Pyongyang the ability to launch a “nuclear counterattack”.
Solid-fuel missiles can be secretly refueled before deployment, potentially giving the enemy less time to launch a pre-emptive strike. According to KCNA, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attended the launch with his wife and young daughter Kim Ju Ae, who has made frequent public appearances since it was revealed to the world last year.
Kim Jong Un is quoted by state media as saying that he will continue to expand his nuclear arsenal to make his opponents “suffer extreme anxiety and fear in the face of the threat”. can not overcome”.
He said the test would “constantly leave them feeling insecure and terrified by applying lethal and offensive countermeasures until they give up their stupid thoughts and act.” his recklessness”.
North Korea tested a short-range solid-fuel missile, but not a solid-fuel ICBM.
While many claims about its ballistic missile development program have been verified by independent experts, Pyongyang also has a history of making false or exaggerated claims about its achievements. Yang Uk, a weapons expert at the Asan Institute for Policy Studies in Seoul, said Thursday’s launch by itself was not a major shift in the nuclear threat posed by North Korea, as Pyongyang developed a means of preparing liquid fuels. Pre-deployment ICBMs used techniques developed by the Soviet Union in the 1960s.
“It’s been predicted for a long time,” Yang said.
More important, Yang said, is North Korea’s use of a “cold launch” system to fire long-range missiles. This means that the rocket is ejected from the launch pad before it ignites, a safer method that is more likely to preserve the launch pad for reuse.
Yang added that while Pyongyang has only shown incremental and long-awaited progress with Thursday’s launch, “the big picture is that North Korea is getting closer and closer to realizing the nuclear threat.” truly trustworthy person to the United States.”
In 2023 alone, North Korea carried out more than 12 launches, or about 30 missiles. Pyongyang argues that it is responding to recent US-South Korean military exercises, which North Korean state media describe as a “provocative war plan of aggression”.
According to South Korea’s state news agency Yonhap, South Korea and the United States conducted joint aerial drills Friday involving a US nuclear-capable B52 bomber. .