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North Korea says it fired new hypersonic missile into sea

Postat la Sep 29, 2021

North Korea has fired what it described as a hypersonic missile towards the sea off its east coast, as Pyongyang repeated a call for Washington and Seoul to scrap their “hostile policy” to restart talks.

On Wednesday, North Korea said it was a newly developed hypersonic missile. The official KCNA news agency said the launch was of “great strategic significance”, as the North seeks to increase its defence capabilities a “thousand-fold”.

The missile was launched from the central north province of Jagang at around 6.40am on Tuesday, South Korea’s joint chiefs of staff said. Japan’s defence ministry said it appeared to be a ballistic missile.

Hypersonic missiles move far faster and are more nimble than ordinary ones, making them much harder for missile defence systems – on which the US is spending billions – to intercept.

The US said the launch posed no immediate threat to US personnel, territory or allies, in a US military statement.

The missile test came just before North Korea’s ambassador to the United Nations said no one could deny his country’s right to self-defence and to test weapons.

The move underscored the steady development of North Korea‘s weapons systems, raising the stakes for stalled talks aimed at dismantling its nuclear and ballistic missile arsenals in return for US sanctions relief.

‘Pushing the nuclear envelope’: North Korea’s missile diplomacy Read more

South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in ordered aides to conduct a detailed analysis of the North’s recent moves and devise a response.

“We regret that the missile was fired at a time when it was very important to stabilise the situation of the Korean peninsula,” said defence ministry spokesman Boo Seung-chan.

There have been a series of missile launches by North Korea during September, in an apparent ramp-up of hostility that has been strongly condemned by neighbouring Japan and South Korea.

On 15 September, North and South Korea both test fired ballistic missiles, the latest volley in a race in which the rivals have been developing increasingly sophisticated weapons.

North Korea fires two ballistic missiles into sea, South Korea military says Read more

At the time, Washington condemned the North Korean test – and a separate test days earlier of what experts said could be its first cruise missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead – as a threat to its neighbours. It did not mention Seoul’s test of a submarine-launched ballistic missile.

North Korea has since released a series of statements saying it is willing to restart stalled inter-Korean talks and consider another summit if the South scraps what the North calls double standards and hostile policy.

At the UN general assembly, North Korea’s envoy Kim Song said it was just shoring up its self-defence and if the US dropped its “hostile” policy, it would respond “willingly at any time” to offers to talks.