North Korea confirms new hypersonic missile launch overseen by Kim
North Korea has confirmed that the projectile test-fired by Pyongyang early on Tuesday was a hypersonic missile, and that the launch was directly observed by the country's Leader Kim Jong-un.
North Korea's official news agency KCNA reported on Wednesday that the second test of a "hypersonic missile" in less than a week intended to underscore Kim's New Year's vow to bolster the military with cutting-edge technology at a time of tensions with the United States.
KCNA said Kim urged military scientists after watching the test to "further accelerate the efforts to steadily build up the country's strategic military muscle both in quality and quantity and further modernize the army.”
On Tuesday, authorities in South Korea and Japan detected the suspected launch, which drew condemnation from authorities around the world and prompted an expression of concern from the UN secretary-general.
Photos released by the North Korean state media showed the same type of missile and warhead that was first tested last week.
Detailing the process of the missile launch, KCNA said the hypersonic projectile made a 600-kilometer "glide jump flight" after its release from the rocket booster and then 240 kilometers of "corkscrew maneuvering" before hitting a target in the sea 1,000 kilometers away.
"The test-fire was aimed at the final verification of overall technical specifications of the developed hypersonic weapon system," KCNA reported. "The superior manoeuverability of the hypersonic glide vehicle was more strikingly verified through the final test-fire.”
It was the first time since March 2020 that the North Korean leader had officially attended a missile test.
Pyongyang insists that such tests are in self-defense in the face of Washington's hostile policies, sanctions and joint military drills with South Korea.
Pyongyang is under harsh UN sanctions for its missile and nuclear activities.
The administration of US President Joe Biden has repeatedly said it is willing to meet North Korean officials anywhere any time, without preconditions, in order to resume denuclearization talks. Pyongyang, however, accuses the United States of applying double standards in its approaches to the two Koreas’ military activities and holds Washington’s duplicity responsible for stalled talks.