Conflicts: South Korea’s military: North Korea tests medium-range missile

Conflicts: South Korea’s military: North Korea tests medium-range missile

North Korea continues its missile tests. Is the self-proclaimed nuclear power testing a hypersonic weapon this time?

The self-proclaimed nuclear power North Korea has fired what is believed to be a medium-range ballistic missile, according to the South Korean military. The missile was fired in the morning (local time) in the region around the capital Pyongyang and then flew eastward about 600 kilometers towards the open sea, the General Staff in Seoul said. South Korea’s highest command accused the largely isolated neighboring country of renewed provocation.

According to information, the missile fell into the sea between the Korean peninsula and Japan. Further data on the missile test would be evaluated in cooperation with the USA and Japan, it said. However, South Korea’s military assumed that it would test a medium-range missile. Their radius of action is below that of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) of at least 5,500 kilometers.

Hypersonic missiles: difficult to intercept and maneuverable

Military officials in South Korea did not rule out that North Korea may have tested a medium-range missile with a hypersonic warhead, national news agency Yonhap reported. According to its own statements, North Korea last successfully tested a solid-fuel jet engine for a “new type” medium-range hypersonic missile in March.

The country spoke of a weapon system with strategic value. This indicated that the missile would also be equipped with a nuclear warhead. Hypersonic missiles are particularly difficult to intercept because they travel more than five times the speed of sound and are maneuverable.

Japan’s government condemned Pyongyang’s latest missile test. “This is a matter that concerns not only the security of our country, but also the security of the region and the international community,” Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said in Tokyo, according to the Japanese news agency Kyodo.

North Korea is banned from missile launches and tests

UN resolutions prohibit North Korea from launching or even testing ballistic missiles, which, depending on their design, can be equipped with a nuclear warhead. The country is subject to international sanctions because of its nuclear weapons and missile programs.

The conflict over North Korea’s weapons programs has become significantly more explosive again. The country has tested nuclear-capable rockets and cruise missiles several times since the beginning of 2022. It also had enshrined nuclear armament in its constitution. The United States and South Korea, which Pyongyang considers its biggest enemies, have expanded military cooperation including joint exercises.

Source: Stern

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