North Korea Claims Missiles Are Huge Success

( – On Sunday, January 14, Japanese and South Korean military organizations both detected the test launch of North Korea’s new solid-fuel missile coming from an area near the North Korean capital of Pyongyang. On Monday, January 15, the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported on the test, asserting that the test flight had nothing to do with the current tense regional situation and that it did not affect the security of any neighboring countries.

However, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) say the missile traveled about 621 miles and landed on the east coast of the Korean Peninsula and claim it was a clear provocation. North Korea has been conducting test flights for new missiles with increasing frequency over the last year. They first tested their Hwasong-18 solid-fuel intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) in April and then twice more including the most recent test on December 18.

The new missile is a solid-fuel hypersonic intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRMB). KCNA reported that Sunday’s test was to confirm gliding and maneuvering capabilities and the reliability of the multi-stage high-thrust solid-fuel engines. Such weapons are believed to be harder to detect and faster to launch. This is considered a medium-range missile and there is concern it may be used in the future against American interests in the region and that such missiles may eventually be fitted with nuclear warheads.

While KCNA did not mention it in their reporting, the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un was present at the launch. Some say that between the missile testing and the alleged arms cooperation between North Korea and Russia, tensions in the Korean peninsula have never been worse. On Tuesday, January 16, Kim Jong-un addressed the Supreme People’s Assembly to declare that their constitution should be amended to declare South Korea as their principal enemy. North Korean propaganda outlets have quickly removed any references to reconciliation with the South. Organizations within North Korea whose focus was improving relations between the two countries have also readjusted their mission statements to reflect the top-down edict.

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