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North Korea tests solid-fuel missile

Ahn Young-joon Associated Press Tensions on the Korean Peninsula are at their highest level in years.

Kim Tong-Hyung – Associated Press in Seoul

January 14, 2024

  • Asia

North Korea announced it has tested a new intermediate-range solid-fuel missile equipped with a hypersonic warhead, as it continues its quest for more powerful and harder-to-detect weapons.

The information reported by North Korean state media surfaced after South Korean and Japanese militaries detected the launch from a site near the North Korean capital, Pyongyang, during of what was the first North Korean ballistic test in 2024.

The launch came two months after North Korea said it had successfully tested the engines of a new intermediate-range solid-fuel missile, reflecting its desire to improve its range weapons with the capabilities to target U.S. military bases in Guam and Japan.

North Korea's official news agency said Sunday's launch was aimed at verifying the reliability of the missile's solid-fuel engines and the hypersonic warhead's maneuverable flight capabilities. The test was declared a “success”.

KCNA did not say whether North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was present at the test, which it said was part of the country's regular weapons development activities .

“The test firings have never affected the security of any neighboring country and have nothing to do with the regional situation,” KCNA wrote.

South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said the missile traveled about 1,000 kilometers before ending up in the waters between the Korean Peninsula and Japan.

North Korea's existing intermediate-range missiles, including the Hwasong-12 that could reach the U.S. territory of Guam in the Pacific, are powered by liquid-fueled engines, which must be fueled before launch and cannot stay powered for long periods of time.

Missiles with built-in solid boosters can be prepared for launch more quickly and are easier to move and conceal, theoretically making it more difficult for adversaries to detect and anticipate their launch.

North Korea has also been testing hypersonic weapons since 2021, designed to fly at speeds greater than Mach 5, or five times the speed of sound. If further developed, these systems could potentially pose a challenge to regional missile defense systems, due to their speed and maneuverability.

Tensions on the Korean Peninsula are at their highest level in years, as Mr. Kim has stepped up his gun protests in recent months.

The United States and its allies Seoul and Tokyo responded by strengthening their joint military exercises and refining their nuclear deterrence strategies.

The U.S. and South Korean governments also claimed that North Korea was supplying weapons to Russia, including artillery and missiles, to help it prolong its invasion of Ukraine .

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116