North Korea launches rockets, many countries are insecure

North Korea launches rockets, many countries are insecure - Photo 1.

Long-range cruise missile was test-fired by North Korea on September 11 and 12 – Photo: KCNA

On September 13, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) confirmed that Pyongyang had successfully test-fired the type of missile it has been studying for the past two years. During the tests over the weekend, the missiles flew for more than two hours and hit a target 1,500km away.

Not too provocative

“The development of a long-range cruise missile, a strategic weapon, is of great importance in achieving the main goal of the five-year plan for the development of defense science and weapons systems,” KCNA said. writes, that the missile is an effective weapon to deal with “hostile forces”.

However, the fact that leader Kim Jong Un did not attend the test launch sent a message that showed Pyongyang’s military might but not too provocative.

North Korea is under international sanctions for its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs. However, Pyongyang is not banned from developing cruise missiles. According to observers, North Korea’s first missile test in months contains many messages.

North Korea’s choice of cruise missile to launch this time is said to avoid provoking the US and China too much ahead of the visit of Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi to South Korea.

Wang is scheduled to arrive in Seoul on September 15 to discuss with his South Korean counterpart Chung Eui Yong on nuclear disarmament negotiations.

However, Park Won Gon, a professor of North Korean studies at Ewha Womans University in South Korea, said the missiles were “a significant threat”.

“If North Korea can miniaturize a nuclear warhead, it can mount it on a cruise missile,” Park said. According to this expert, this is the message that Pyongyang responds to the joint US-South Korean military exercises in August this year and there will be many more missile tests to come.

Meanwhile, researcher Jeffrey Lewis of the Middlebury Institute of International Studies (USA) also assessed that the cruise missile is capable of targeting targets “across South Korea and Japan”. Although they do not have the range and are faster than ballistic missiles, cruise missiles are capable of following a fixed low-altitude trajectory that makes them difficult to detect.

“This missile system is designed to fly under the radar scan range or circle to avoid being shot down,” Lewis said.

America reassured

Immediately after the launch, the US Indo-Pacific Command said the latest test poses threats to the region and the world.

“This activity clearly demonstrates North Korea’s continued focus on developing its military program and the threats it poses to its neighbors and the international community. The United States’ commitment to the defense of South Korea.” and Japan remains firm,” the agency said.

On September 13, Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato also expressed “concern” over reports that North Korea had tested a missile. He said that Tokyo will continue to work closely with Washington and Seoul to monitor the situation.

According to observers, the latest missile launch is the message that North Korea wants to send to the administration of US President Joe Biden, after diplomatic efforts between the two sides have stalled for months.

After launching two short-range ballistic missiles in March to “flex” the new administration in Washington, Pyongyang has focused on dealing with the COVID-19 epidemic and economic hardship over the past few months. Meanwhile, Washington has said it is ready to take diplomatic measures to achieve the goal of denuclearization of the Korean peninsula while maintaining sanctions.

Efforts to restore dialogue with Pyongyang have so far been unsuccessful. The restoration of the hotline in July by the two Koreas has raised hopes of restarting negotiations.

However, Pyongyang has stopped communicating since the United States and South Korea resumed joint military exercises last month and Seoul recently developed a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM).

In early September, South Korean media reported that the country was developing a very powerful weapon: short-range ballistic missiles with a payload of up to 3 tons.

“We will develop more powerful, longer-range and more accurate missiles to carry out deterrence and achieve peace and security on the Korean peninsula,” the ministry said.

How powerful is North Korea’s new missile?

According to experts, North Korea’s new missile is similar to the US Tomahawk long-range cruise missile and South Korea’s Hyunmoo-3C. For comparison, the Tomahawk missile has a maximum range of up to 1,650km.

It’s not clear if North Korea has developed warheads small enough to fit on cruise missiles, but leader Kim Jong Un earlier this year made miniaturization his top priority.

Hong Min, a researcher at the Korea Institute for National Unification, said the missile could begin development in mid-2019.

“North Korea can develop a missile so that it can be launched from a submarine,” Hong told Yonhap News Agency.

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