It was North Korea’s second known weapons test this week after launching a previously unseen hypersonic missile on Tuesday. It has also fired ballistic missiles and a cruise missile with potential nuclear capabilities in recent weeks.
The tests highlight North Korea’s increasingly sophisticated weapons development, betting on efforts to pressure it to abandon its nuclear and missile programs in exchange for US sanctions relief.
According to the official KCNA news agency, the North Korean military weapons developer Academy of Defense Science said the test was aimed at verifying the practical functionality of the missile’s launcher, radar, comprehensive combat command vehicle and combat performance.
It added that the missile has new flagship technologies such as twin rudder control and a double impulse flight engine.
It appears that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un did not attend the trial, which was overseen by the ruling Workers’ Party’s powerful Politburo and Central Committee member Pak Jong Chon.
KCNA quoted the Academy as saying, “The rapid response and guidance accuracy of the missile control system as well as a substantial increase in the distance to downing air targets have verified the remarkable combat performance of the new type of anti-aircraft missile. ” .
Pyongyang has accused the US and South Korea of ”double standards” and a “hostile policy” in recent weeks, arguing that its weapons tests are aimed at boosting self-defense capabilities.
On Wednesday, Kim said he had no reason to attack South Korea and was prepared to reopen separate inter-Korean hotlines next month. But he rebuked the administration of US President Joe Biden for using “more cunning ways and means” in pursuing a hostile policy, proposing dialogue.
Analysts say North Korea’s carrot-and-stick approach aims to gain international recognition as a nuclear-weapon state, keeping an eye on South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s desire for a diplomatic legacy before the end of his term. and to create a rift between the two allies. in May.
The Biden administration has said it has no hostile intentions towards North Korea and called on Pyongyang to accept its proposals for talks to break the deadlock on the nuclear disarmament talks.
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