politics

North Korea says it tested hypersonic missile

North Korea says it tested hypersonic missile

SEOUL : North Korea said it hit a target with a hypersonic missile, as the country seeks to put itself in the small club of countries developing the technology. Pyongyang made that claim in state media on Thursday a day after the launch, which was its first weapons test since October. Hypersonic weapons are some of the latest technology being developed by the U.S., China and Russia. Hypersonic missiles fly at least five times the speed of sound and closer to the Earth than ballistic missiles, making them difficult to detect on radar. Japanese and South Korean officials had described the missile on Wednesday as a suspected ballistic missile. However, photos released by North Korean state media on Thursday matched a model the country put on display at an event in October, which weapons experts have identified as a liquid-fueled maneuvering re-entry vehicle, one of North Korea’s hypersonic models. The launch Wednesday would be the second test by North Korea of hypersonic technology, after one in September. Last year, China carried out a hypersonic missile test, raising alarms in Washington over rapid advances in Chinese weapons technology that could be used to target American ports or installations in the Indo-Pacific region. China’s technology enables a rocket carrying a hypersonic glide vehicle to orbit space before cruising down toward its target, making it harder to intercept. North Korea’s hypersonic technology appears to be in the early stages of development, weapons experts said, and would need some time before any practical deployment. To deploy a credible hypersonic glide vehicle, such as the one deployed by China, longer-range tests would be required over at least a few years, the experts said. “North Korea’s message is that their goal is to use weapons like hypersonic missiles to incapacitate missile defenses in the U.S. and South Korea, said Park Won-gon, a professor of North Korean studies at Ewha University in Seoul. North Korean state media said Thursday that the missile was a “hypersonic gliding warhead, an apparent reference to the use of high-speed gliders to carry warheads past missile defenses. The weapon’s warhead detached from its rocket booster and maneuvered about 75 miles before it hit a target around 430 miles away, according to state media. Japanese officials had said Wednesday that the missile flew about 310 miles and landed outside Japan’s exclusive economic zone. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un didn’t attend the launch, according to state media. During a year-end speech, Mr. Kim vowed to pursue high-tech weapons to counter what he called military instability on the Korean Peninsula. North Korea hasn’t tested nuclear bombs or long-range intercontinental ballistic missiles since 2017, but in recent years the country has developed a range of more maneuverable weapons. These weapons are aimed at overcoming missile defenses wielded by South Korea and the U.S., North Korea analysts say. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, in a call on Wednesday with Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi, condemned North Korea’s missile launch and discussed cooperation to achieve complete denuclearization and lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula, the State Department said. Shortly after the launch on Wednesday, South Korea’s National Security Council expressed concerns over the missile test and called for resuming dialogue, according to the presidential office. South Korea’s Unification Ministry urged North Korea to respond to its efforts to resume dialogue and reach peace. Washington and Seoul have called on North Korea to surrender its nuclear weapons and return to talks, which have stalled since a series of summits between Mr. Kim and then-U.S. President Donald Trump. Talks collapsed in 2019, and North Korea has brushed off calls to revive dialogue. President Biden’s administration has continued to say it is open to talking with North Korea “any time, anywhere. Pyongyang has largely ignored Washington’s overtures and called on the U.S. to withdraw its “hostile policies, such as military drills with South Korea and sanctions. Hours after the missile launch, South Korean President Moon Jae-in, whose term ends in May, visited the South Korean east coast city of Goseong, where he attended a ceremony for a new rail line that he called a “steppingstone for peace and regional balance on the Korean Peninsula. “North Korea’s military capabilities will continue to advance while there’s no sign they are willing to return to talks, said Kim Yong-hyun, a professor of North Korean studies at South Korea’s Dongguk University. Download.

politics 2022-01-07 Livemint