Pyongyang released footage of its new ballistic missile Monday after claiming a successful test.
North Korea tested a Pukguksong-2 surface-to-surface medium long-range ballistic missile Sunday morning. The new weapon was developed with the Pukguksong-1 submarine-launched ballistic missile in mind. The North tested the Pukguksong-1 in August 2016.
The test was personally overseen by Kim Jong-un.
The Pukguksong-2 is a road-mobile, solid-fueled, cold-canister-launched medium-range ballistic missile. Solid-fueled weapons require significantly less preparation time and can achieve greater range than liquid-fueled weapons. Solid-fueled weapons on mobile launchers are tougher to detect, making them less vulnerable to preemptive strikes and harder to defend against. The Pukguksong-2 is the modified, land-based version of its sea-based predecessor, and like the submarine-launched version, this new missile is capable of carrying a nuclear payload.
“The possession of another powerful nuclear attack means adds to the tremendous might of the country,” the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported.
The South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff suspect that the new missile may have a range of 1,500 – 1,850 miles.
Experts believe that the new missile represents a breakthrough in ballistic missile technology. “I think they created something in between a Musudan missile and an intercontinental ballistic missile,” Kim Dong-yup, a professor at Kyungnam University’s Far East Institute, told the Korea Herald. “It is more like a test for a first-stage propellant of ICBM. If combined with the second propellant, it can open up the path for ICBM.”
“It is quite rare to launch an intermediate ballistic missile on the ground using the cold-launching system, but they definitely demonstrated such capability on the ground. It is very sophisticated technology,” Lee Chun-geun, a researcher at the Science and Technology Policy Institute, explained to reporters.
The South Korean military reported that the new missile test was a “show of force” for President Donald Trump, who has taken a hard-line stance against North Korea. The White House is still weighing its options and searching for the most suitable response. The goal is to show strength without overly escalating tensions on the Korean peninsula.
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