Kim Jong Un ‘guides’ test of new missile – as launch sparks panic in Japan

Kim Jong Un ‘guides’ test of new missile – as launch sparks panic in Japan

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Kim Jong Un “guided” the testing of a new solid-fuel intercontinental ballistic missile, according to North Korean state media.

The new Hwasong-18 weapon will “drastically boost” the country’s nuclear counterattack capability, KCNA reports.

North Korea fired what appeared to be a new model ballistic missile on Thursday, South Korea said.

The launch triggered an alert in northern Japan where Hokkaido residents have been urged to take sheltereven if it turned out that there was no danger.

“The development of the new type of ICBM Hwasongpho-18 will thoroughly reform the DPRK’s strategic deterrence components, radically promote the effectiveness of its nuclear counterattack posture, and lead to a change in the practicality of its military strategy. offensive,” KCNA said.

Analysts say this would mark the North’s first use of solid propellants in an intermediate-range or intercontinental ballistic missile.

Developing a solid-fuel ICBM has long been seen as a key goal for North Korea, as it could help Pyongyang deploy its missiles more quickly in the event of war.

People watch a news report about North Korea firing a ballistic missile, at a train station in Seoul, South Korea

Kim warned that he will give enemies “a clearer security crisis and constantly inflict extreme unease and horror on them by taking fatal and offensive counter-actions until they abandon their foolish thoughts and reckless deeds “.

North Korea has criticized recent joint US-South Korean military exercises as an escalation of tensions and has stepped up weapons testing in recent months.

Most of the country’s largest ballistic missiles use liquid fuel, requiring them to be loaded with propellant at their launch site, a time-consuming process.

“Solids are easier and safer for troops to operate in the field, and have a much smaller logistics train which makes solid missile units deployed in the field harder to detect (and therefore more resilient) than liquids. “said Vann Van Diepen, a former US government. weapons expert who now works with Project 38 North, said.

“But even liquids are very resilient when deployed on the ground,” Van Diepen said, adding that it depends on how Pyongyang chooses to operate the systems.

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Aerial sirens launched in Japan

North Korea presented what could be a new solid-fuel ICBM during a military parade in February after testing a high-thrust solid-fuel engine in December.

Analysts said the United States would be able to determine between a solid- or liquid-fueled launch via early-warning satellites capable of detecting differences in infrared data produced by different types of missiles.

The latest launch came days after Kim called for strengthening war deterrence in a “more practical and offensive” way to counter what North Korea called America’s aggressive moves.

The missile, fired from near Pyongyang, traveled about 620 miles before landing in waters east of North Korea, officials said.

North Korea has said the test poses no threat to neighboring countries.

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