North Korea tests ballistic missile from train under new sanctions | Nuclear Weapons News

North Korea confirmed on Saturday that it test-fired a ballistic missile from a train in what is believed to be a Apparent retaliation for new sanctions imposed by the United States.

North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said the exercise was aimed at “checking and judging the proficiency of the missile’s operational procedures,” adding that two missiles hit an intended target in the East China Sea.

The latest projectile flew about 430 kilometers (267 miles) at an altitude of 36 kilometers (22 miles) and had a top speed of Mach 6 (7,350 kilometers per hour), six times the speed of sound, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency said, citing its military. .

North Korea’s state media reports came a day after South Korea’s military said on Friday that it found its neighbor fired two missiles into the sea, marking the third weapon launch this month.

The launch came hours after Pyongyang’s foreign ministry issued a statement rebuking it. U.S. imposes new sanctions on North Korea’s previous test And warned that if Washington maintains its “confrontational stance,” it will take stronger and clearer action.

In recent months, amid pandemic-related border closures and a freeze on nuclear diplomacy with the U.S., North Korea has been ramping up tests of new missiles designed to overwhelm the region’s missile defenses.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is reverting to a proven approach of pressuring his neighbors and the United States with missile launches and brazen threats before offering talks aimed at securing concessions, some experts say.

KCNA said Friday’s exercise was aimed at checking the alert posture of its army’s railway missile regiment.

The report said that after receiving the missile test order, the troops quickly moved to the launch site and fired two “tactically guided” missiles, which accurately hit the sea target.

The Rodong Sinmun published photos of what appeared to be two different missiles soaring from a rail car engulfed in smoke.

Cheong Seong-chang, an analyst at the private Sejong Institute in South Korea, said North Korea likely carried out a previously unplanned launch to show its opposition to U.S. sanctions.

solid fuel short-range weapons

The missile launched from the railcar appears to be a solid-fuel short-range weapon, which North Korea is apparently modeled on Russia’s Iskander mobile ballistic system.

First tested in 2019, the missile is designed to maneuver and fly at low altitudes, potentially improving its chances of evading and defeating missile systems.

North Korea first launched the missiles from a train last September as part of its efforts to diversify its launch options, which now include a variety of vehicles and, eventually, submarines, depending on the country’s progress in pursuing such capabilities.

Launching missiles from trains can increase mobility, but some experts say North Korea’s simple rail network operating on its relatively small territory will be quickly destroyed by enemies during a crisis.

The Biden administration on Wednesday sanctioned five North Koreans for their role in acquiring equipment and technology for their country’s missile program — in response to North Korea’s previous tests this month.

US Treasury statement is on North Korea On Tuesday, Kim oversaw the successful test of a hypersonic missile He claimed this would significantly increase the country’s nuclear “deterrent to war”. Tuesday’s test was North Korea’s second demonstration of its so-called hypersonic missile in a week.

Hours before Friday’s launch, KCNA released a statement blaming an unidentified spokesman for the North’s foreign ministry, insisting that the new sanctions underscored the United States’ aim to “isolate and stifle” the country. hostile intent.

Hypersonic weapons travel at speeds in excess of Mach 5 (6,125 km/h), or 5 times the speed of sound, and can pose significant challenges to missile defense systems due to their speed and maneuverability.

Such weapons are on Kim’s wish list of complex military assets unveiled early last year, along with multiple warhead missiles, spy satellites, solid-fuel long-range missiles and submarine-launched nuclear missiles.

However, experts say it will take years and more successful and longer-distance tests for North Korea to get a reliable hypersonic system.

In 2019, a U.S.-led diplomatic effort to persuade North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons program collapsed after the Trump administration rejected a demand by Pyongyang to partially relinquish its nuclear capabilities in exchange for major sanctions relief.

Kim Jong-un has since pledged to further expand his nuclear arsenal, which he apparently sees as the strongest guarantee of his survival, despite major setbacks to the country’s economy amid pandemic-related border closures and ongoing U.S.-led sanctions.

His government has so far rejected Biden administration calls for unconditional resumption of dialogueSaying that the United States must first abandon its “hostile policy,” a word Pyongyang mainly uses to describe sanctions and joint U.S.-South Korea military exercises.