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North Korea claimed to have successfully tested the new hypersonic missile “Mars 8”.
North Korean state media reported that the hypersonic missile is one of the “five most important” new weapon systems in the country’s five-year military development plan.
KCNA reported that the hypersonic missile is a “strategic weapon”, which usually means that the weapon has nuclear capabilities.
The report also said, “This weapon system development project has strengthened North Korea’s self-defense force.”
What new technology does the new missile have?
North Korea’s test firing of hypersonic missiles once again shows that North Korea continues to expand its weapons under strict sanctions, and for the first time it has adopted “ampoule” fuel technology on its missiles.
According to North Korea analyst Ankit Panda, this is a major breakthrough.
The “ampule” fuel system allows the missile to be pre-filled with fuel during the production process and packaged for use. This means that the missile’s launch-ready capability can be maintained for several years.
This is the third time North Korea has tested a missile this month. North Korea has previously tested a new long-range cruise missile and a new railway mobile ballistic missile system.
What is a hypersonic missile?
Hypersonic missiles are faster and more maneuverable than ordinary missiles, and it is more difficult for missile defense systems to intercept hypersonic missiles.
At present, there are only a few countries in the world trying to develop hypersonic missiles, including the United States, Russia, China and India, and North Korea is the latest one.
In July of this year, Russia announced that it had successfully tested a hypersonic missile from a warship in the White Sea with a maximum speed of 8599.88 kilometers per hour.
Panda, a senior researcher at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said that it is difficult to assess the actual capabilities of North Korean missiles, but “it is speculated that the missile defense system should face more difficult challenges.”
The missile uses “ampoule” fuel technology, which can be ready to launch at any time and does not need to be filled with fuel on the battlefield. In other words, the missile can be launched in a very short time, and it is more difficult for other countries to launch preventive attacks.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said in January this year that scientists had completed the study of hypersonic glide warheads, and Tuesday was the first test-fire of this new type of missile.
Panda said, “It is not surprising that North Korea has developed hypersonic missiles. This shows that North Korea’s missile ambitions are far from over.”
What does South Korea say?
South Korea’s official media Yonhap News Agency reported on the 29th the assessment issued by the military’s “Joint Staff” (Joint Staff).
According to the report, the joint representatives believe that the missile is still in the initial stage of research and development, and it will take a long time before it is deployed in actual combat.
The report also said that the South Korean military has determined that South Korean and US weapons can detect and intercept missiles tested by North Korea.
What is the background of North Korea’s test launch?
North Korea has tested three fires this month, showing that North Korea has accelerated its weapons development plan.
The United States has called on North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons, and North Korea’s multiple missile tests have also made relations between Pyongyang and the new US administration full of tension.
For North Korea’s neighbors, North Korea’s continued development of weapons also poses a major threat to regional security. Japan’s colonial rule over North Korea in the past, North Korea’s abduction of Japanese citizens in the past, and missile testing are all hotspots affecting bilateral relations.
However, Pyongyang insists on developing weapons programs. North Korea’s ambassador to the United Nations, Jin Xing, previously spoke at the UN General Assembly in New York to defend North Korea’s right to develop weapons.
He said, “North Korea is committed to expanding its self-defense capabilities to ensure national security and peace.”
North Korea also accuses the international of adopting double standards on South Korea’s military activities.
South Korea also recently tested the first ballistic missile launched by a submarine, expressing the need to counter North Korea’s “provocation.”