North Korea missile fuelling fears over its increasing ability to hit US targets

May 22, 2017 | By | Reply More

Kim Jong-un’s launch follows the successful test last week of another missile that has put Hawaii and Alaska within range

north koreaNorth Korea claims to have successfully tested an intermediate-range ballistic missile indicating further advances in its ability to hit US targets.

Leader Kim Jong-un supervised the test to confirm the reliability of the late-stage guidance of the warhead, agency KCNA reported.

The test also verified the functioning of the solid-fuel engine for the Pukguksong-2 missile and ordered it for deployment in field action.

North Korea has defied all calls to rein in its nuclear and missile programmes, even from China, its lone major ally.

The reclusive country, which last conducted a ballistic missile test a week ago, claims weapons are needed for legitimate self-defense.

“Saying with pride that the missile’s rate of hits is very accurate and Pukguksong-2 is a successful strategic weapon, he approved the deployment of this weapon system for action,” KCNA said, quoting leader Kim Jong UN.

The launch verified the reliability and accuracy of the solid-fuel engine’s operation and stage separation and the late-stage guidance of the nuclear warhead which was recorded by a device mounted on the warhead, KCNA said.

“Viewing the images of the Earth being sent real-time from the camera mounted on the ballistic missile, Supreme leader Kim Jong UN said it feels grand to look at the Earth from the rocket we launched and the entire world looks so beautiful,” KCNA said.

The use of solid fuel presents great advantages for weapons because the fuel is more stable and can be transported easily in the missile’s tank allowing for a launch on very short notice.

The Pukguksong-2 missile flew about 500 km (310 miles), reaching an altitude of 560 km, and landed in waters off the North Korea’s east coast, South Korea’s military said on Sunday.

On Monday, the South’s military said the test provided more “meaningful data” for the North’s missile programme but whether the North mastered the re-entry technology for the warhead needs additional analysis to verify the North’s claims of advances.

The reclusive state has been working to develop a nuclear-tipped missile capable of striking the US mainland.

On Saturday, it said it had developed the capability to strike the US mainland, although Western missile experts say the claim is exaggerated.

The North has yet to demonstrate it has successfully miniaturised a nuclear warhead to mount on a ballistic missile despite claims to having mastered the technology.

On Monday, KCNA said the latest test follows the successful test last week of another missile that has put Hawaii and Alaska within range.

Experts say solid fuel engines and mobile launchers make it more difficult to detect signs of launch preparations.

“For military purposes, solid-fueled missiles have the advantage that they have the fuel loaded in them and can be launched quickly after they are moved to a launch site,” David Wright, co-director of the Global Security Program at the U.S.-based Union of Concerned Scientists, said in a blog post.

“Building large solid missiles is difficult,” he said, adding it took decades for major superpowers such as France and China to go from a medium-range missile to an intercontinental ballistic missile.

“So this is not something that will happen soon, but with time North Korea will be able to do it,” Wright said.

An official travelling with President Donald Trump in Saudi Arabia said the White House was aware of the latest launch and noted that the missile had a shorter range than the three previous missiles that North Korea had tested.

Press journalist for HRO media – Ignacio Damigo reports.

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Category: International

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