Kim backs ‘military muscle’ as he watches hypersonic missile test Kim Jong Un News

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un personally oversaw the successful test of a hypersonic missile, state media reported on Wednesday, and called on scientists to speed up efforts to boost the country’s “military power.”

This is the first time Kim Jong Un has participated in a missile launch in nearly two years.

Rodong Sinmun, the official newspaper of the ruling Labour Party, trumpeted the launch on its front page, with photos posted on its website showing Kim in a long black fur coat watching the launch with binoculars. Other images showed missiles exploding in smoke and Kim Jong-un on a train discussing charts with officials, including his sister.

“The superior maneuverability of the hypersonic glide vehicle was even more astonishingly verified in the final test launch,” the official KCNA news agency said, adding that the launch involved a missile that was first tested last week.

Both Japan and Korea report The launch on Tuesday said they suspected it was a ballistic missile, banned by the United Nations.

Despite international sanctions and a deteriorating economy, Kim Jong Un has been pushing to modernize North Korea’s military and adopt more advanced weapons since he took power a decade ago.

A missile shoots into the dark sky in thick smokeThis Jan. 11, 2022 photo by North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) shows what North Korea says is a test launch of a hypersonic missile at an undisclosed location by the North’s National Defense Academy [KCNA via AFP]

The hypersonic missile is listed as a “top priority” in North Korea’s current five-year plan for strategic weapons, with its first test launch, the Hwasong-8, in September 2021. Kim vowed to continue strengthening the country’s defense at a major meeting of North Korea’s ruling party last month.

After watching the test, Kim urged military scientists to “further accelerate efforts to steadily increase the quality and quantity of the country’s strategic military forces and further modernize the military,” KCNA said.

Chad O’Caroll, head of the South Korean risk team that monitors North Korea, said Kim’s presence at the launch was significant.

“This means King doesn’t worry about personal associations with testing of major new technologies. And doesn’t care how the U.S. sees this,” he tweeted.

Kim Jong Un has not been photographed during a missile launch since March 2020.

“North Korea’s so-called hypersonic weapons are not technically ready for deployment. But state media hyped the latest test, personally overseen by Kim Jong-un, as a ‘final verification’ of new military capabilities,” said Leif-Eri, a professor at Ewha University in Seoul. Easley said in emailed comments. “This looks like a classic North Korean check box, claiming that an agenda item in Kim’s earlier speech was successful to strengthen political legitimacy and increase diplomatic pressure. Still, Pyongyang’s ability to threaten its neighbors continues to grow, underscoring the Demonstrate the urgency of U.S.-South Korea-Japan missile defense cooperation and the need for greater accountability as China and Russia enforce U.N. sanctions.”

Denuclearization talks have stalled since a 2019 summit between Kim Jong Un and then-U.S. President Donald Trump collapsed, with Pyongyang saying the U.S. and its allies must end “hostile policies” such as sanctions or military exercises before diplomacy can resume.

Victoria Newland, the U.S. undersecretary of state for political affairs, called the launch dangerous and destabilizing.

“It’s clearly leading us in the wrong direction,” she said at a briefing in Washington on Tuesday. “As you know, since this administration took office, the United States has been saying that we are willing to talk to North Korea, we are willing to talk about COVID and humanitarian support, but they are firing missiles.”

Despite their names, analysts say the main concern is Hypersonic weapons Not speed (which can sometimes be matched or surpassed by conventional ballistic missile warheads), but their maneuverability.

Photos released by state media show missiles and warheads that appear to be First test last week, analysts said.

After being released from the rocket booster, the hypersonic glide vehicle made a 600-kilometer (375-mile) “glide jump flight,” followed by a 240-kilometer “corkscrew maneuver,” before hitting 1,000 kilometers away, the report said. sea ​​target.

On Tuesday, South Korea said a second test appeared to show improved performance, with the missile reaching a top speed of 10 times the speed of sound (12,348 kilometers per hour or 7,673 miles per hour), although they did not comment on its maneuverability.

Russia, the United States and China have all said they have successfully tested hypersonic glide vehicles, with Russia widely seen as a leader in the technology.

Kim looking out the window through binocularsNorth Korean leader Kim Jong Un observed what state media said was a hypersonic missile test.Analysts say this is the weapon tested for the first time last week [KCNA via AFP]