On September 30th, North Korea test-fired a newly developed anti-aircraft missile in what has become a regular occurrence in past weeks.
It was North Korea’s second known weapons test in the same week after launching a previously unseen hypersonic missile on September 26th.
The tests highlighted how North Korea has been steadily developing increasingly sophisticated weapons, raising the stakes for efforts to press it to give up its nuclear and missile programmes in return for U.S. sanctions relief.
The Academy of Defense Science, a military weapons developer, said the test was aimed at confirming the practical functionality of the missile’s launcher, radar, comprehensive battle command vehicle and combat performance, the official KCNA news agency reported.
The missile has new key technologies such as twin rudder control and double impulse flight engine, it said.
South Korea’s military said detailed analysis was needed to verify the KCNA report.
“The remarkable combat performance of the new-type anti-aircraft missile with features of rapid responsiveness and guidance accuracy of missile control system as well as the substantial increase in the distance of downing air targets has been verified,” KCNA said, citing the academy.
North Korea has said in recent weeks that its weapons tests are aimed at boosting its defence capabilities just as other countries do, accusing the United States and South Korea of “double standards” and “hostile policy” toward it.
On September 29th, Kim said he has no reasons to attack South Korea and was willing to reopen severed inter-Korean hotlines.
He criticized U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration for using “more cunning ways and methods” in pursuing hostile policy while proposing dialogue.
South Korea’s Unification Ministry, which is in charge of North Korean affairs, said the North did not answer the lines on October 1st but it vowed to continue efforts to restore the channels and resume talks.
On the same day, South Korean President Moon Jae-in, in a speech celebrating the 73rd Armed Forces Day, did not refer to North Korea but said he was committed to fostering lasting peace while sternly responding to any life-threatening action.
The US, the UK and France have called a UN security council meeting on North Korea, set to take place on October 1st. It was originally due on September 30th but was delayed by Russia and China, which asked for more time to study the situation, a diplomatic source said.
Still, this appears to be a way for North Korea to flex its muscles and boast of its non-nuclear progress, as well as a warning that its nuclear one could be similar. The United States seems to feel no sense of urgency to negotiate, while both Seoul and Pyongyang appear to be making steady progress in attempting to reach some sort of normalization.
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- North Korea Test-Fires What It Says Is “Hypersonic” Missile
- Kim Jong Un Pledges To Restore Cross-Border Communications With South, Calls U.S. Hostile