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North Korea fires new type of ballistic missile – Seoul

Kim Jong-un had previously declared he is ending policy of seeking reconciliation with the South

North Korea on Tuesday test-fired what is presumed to be a new solid-fuel rocket, officials in Seoul have claimed. Pyongyang has made no immediate comment on the reported launch.

The South Korean military said it had detected a possible intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) take off near the North Korean capital Pyongyang at 6:53am local time (21:53 GMT on Monday) before plunging into the sea off the country’s east coast.

The suspected test comes just a week before legislative elections in South Korea, which will test the support for conservative President Yoon Suk-yeol, who has taken a hard line against Pyongyang during his two years in office.

North Korea has increased weapons testing in recent weeks, after leader Kim Jong-un’s New Year declaration that he is ending a policy seeking reconciliation with the South.

On March 19, state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported a test of a multi-stage, solid-fueled rocket engine for a “new-type intermediate-range hypersonic missile.”

KCNA did not provide details of the new weapon mentioned, but Pyongyang previously reported testing a hypersonic glide vehicle (HGV). While all ballistic missiles reach hypersonic velocity – five to ten times the speed of sound – an HGV can maneuver at high speeds as it reaches a target, enabling it to evade missile defenses.

READ MORE: North Korea fires ballistic missiles as Blinken visits South – media

According to Kim, the development of the IRBM system is critical to North Korea’s security in the event of a regional conflict. The country’s intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) could in theory reach the United States mainland.


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