North Korea says it tested new tactical guided weapon

Seoul, South Korea: North Korea State media reported on Sunday, days after it passed the largest state celebration without an expected military parade, which it normally uses to unveil dance weapons systems. encourage.
The test, Pyongyang’s 13th weapons launch this year, came amid concerns that North Korea Korea could soon launch a larger provocation like a nuclear test in an effort to expand its arsenal and increase pressure on rivals amid stalled diplomacy.
Official Korean Central News Agency leader said Kim Jong Un and other top officials observed the launch. It said the tested weapon had “ great significance in significantly improving the fire power of front-line long-range artillery units, improving the operational efficiency of tactical nukes (North Korea). Fairy) and diversify their fire missions. ”
KCNA did not elaborate, but the mention of the word “tactical nuclear weapon” indicates that the weapon is capable of carrying nuclear warheads on the battlefield that can hit strategic targets in South Korea. , including US military facilities. The KCNA dispatch did not say when or where the launch took place.
Leif-Eric Easley, a professor at Ewha University in Seoul, said: “North Korea is trying to deploy not only long-range nuclear missiles aimed at US cities but also tactical nuclear weapons. to threaten Seoul and American bases in Asia”. “ Pyongyang’s goals may go beyond deterrence and regime survival. Just as Russia fears that it might use tactical nuclear weapons, North Korea may want such weapons to coerce politics, escalate the battlefield, and limit other states’ willingness to intervene. another into a conflict. ”
Some observers speculated the weapon tested Sunday could be a smaller, lighter version of North Korea’s nuclear-capable KN-23 missile, which has high maneuverability and orbital capabilities. lower to defeat missile defense systems.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement Sunday that it detected two missile launches from the eastern North Korean coastal town of Hamhung in the early hours of Saturday night.
They said the projectiles flew about 110 km (68 mi) at an altitude of 25 km (16 mi) and at a maximum speed of Mach 4. The statement said South Korean and US intelligence agencies were analyzing analyze additional details about the launches. South Korea’s presidential office said officials met twice this weekend to discuss North Korea’s military activities.
North Korea has started the year with a series of weapons tests, including the first flight test of an intercontinental ballistic missile since 2017. South Korean and US officials say Pyongyang could soon launch one. Other provocations such as another ICBM test, a rocket launch to put spy satellites into orbit or even a nuclear test explosion would be the seventh explosion of its kind. South Korea’s military says it has detected signs that North Korea is rebuilding tunnels at its nuclear test site, which it partially dismantled a few weeks before the start of nuclear negotiations with the United States. 2018.
The KCNA dispatch on Sunday quoted Kim as presenting unspecified tasks to build up North Korea’s nuclear combat force and its defense capabilities after praising what he called progress. consecutively in an effort to strengthen the country’s war deterrence power.
North Korea’s recent testing involves sophisticated weapons systems that Kim has vowed to introduce in response to what he calls US hostility. Analysts say North Korea may conduct more missile tests after the South Korean and US militaries begin their annual drills this week as the North views them as an invasion rehearsal.
“ North Korea has a domestic requirement to make and perfect the weapons ordered by Kim Jong Un last year, regardless of what the US does or does not do. The test also tells his people that their country remains strong despite the obvious economic difficulties’ said Duyeon Kim, senior analyst at Washington’s Center for a New American Security. ‘. “ One reason for the political moment could be to oppose the anticipated US-ROK military exercises. ”
On Friday, Kim attended a large civilian parade in Pyongyang, marking the 110th anniversary of the birth of his grandfather who founded the state, Kim Il Sung. It looks like the country has passed its most important national holiday without a highly anticipated parade to showcase its new weapons systems.

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