North Korea: Have tested new ICBMs
North Korea has been pushing ahead with its missile program for many years. Now the country is reporting the test of a new type of long-range missile. In the future, it should be the most powerful means of its own nuclear force.
North Korea says it has made significant progress in nuclear deterrence against its enemies. The country has successfully tested a new Hwasongpho-18 solid-propellant intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) under the guidance of ruler Kim Jong Un, state media reported.
The aim of the test on Thursday was to check the performance of solid fuel engines for multi-stage rockets. While ICBMs are considered the most important means of delivering nuclear weapons, solid-propellant rockets are being prepared so that they can be deployed particularly quickly.
North Korea described the new missile as a strategic offensive weapon and in the future “the most powerful, central and primary means” to defend the country and deter aggressors. The aim of the government’s policy is to create “extreme uneasiness and fear” in the enemy on a constant basis, Kim was quoted as saying. North Korea sees the United States and South Korea as its enemies. North Korea’s development of ICBMs, whose ranges exceed 5500 kilometers, is primarily aimed at the nuclear power USA.
The Ministry of Defense in South Korea said the test was classified as an “intermediate stage” in the development of solid-propelled ICBMs. North Korea obviously needs more time for the system. It is assumed that North Korea already has smaller solid-fuel missiles.
According to observers, North Korea would be more difficult to calculate with missiles of this type. Compared to liquid-propellant rockets, “large solid-propellant rockets” have significant advantages in terms of their operational capability, the expert Ankit Panda wrote on Twitter. “But they have certain disadvantages in terms of their maintenance, storage, handling.”
South Korea and the US accuse Pyongyang of provocation
North Korea is subject to tough international sanctions because of its nuclear weapons and missile program. The conflict with North Korea will also be a topic during Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock’s trip to East Asia. After her visit to China, the Green politician is expected in South Korea on Saturday.
North Korea’s missile test was caught by the South Korean military on Thursday. According to this, the rocket flew about 1000 kilometers before falling into the water in the Sea of Japan (Korean: East Sea). South Korea and the US accused Pyongyang of provocation. The German government also condemned the “illegal launch of a long-range ballistic missile by North Korea in the strongest terms”. The country is prohibited from testing ballistic missiles by UN decisions. Depending on the design, such rockets can be equipped with one or more nuclear warheads.
The conflict with North Korea has become significantly more explosive again. After an unprecedented series of missile tests last year, North Korea has again tested nuclear-capable missiles several times this year. The US and South Korea resumed full-scale joint military exercises.
Both countries undertook a new air force exercise Friday in response to North Korea’s recent missile test. According to the Ministry of Defense in Seoul, American long-range B-52H bombers were used in addition to fighter jets from both countries. The bomber can also be equipped with nuclear bombs. Like its neighbor Japan, South Korea is under the US nuclear umbrella. Both countries do not have their own nuclear weapons.