North Korea claims it has launched ‘new type’ of tactical guided missiles

The launches were North Korea’s first ballistic missile tests in nearly a year

Akshita Jain
Friday 26 March 2021 06:05 GMT
North Korea is 'top' foreign policy issue, says Biden
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North Korea has said it launched two “newly developed, new-type tactical guided projectiles” on Thursday and the weapons hit a target 600 kilometres off the country’s east coast. 

The launches were North Korea’s first ballistic missile tests in nearly a year. 

“The development of this weapon system is of great significance in bolstering up the military power of the country and deterring all sorts of military threats,” Ri Pyong Chol, the senior leader who oversaw the tests, was quoted as saying by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). 

North Korea’s state news agency said the new missiles are based on an existing technology that was improved to carry a 2.5-ton warhead.

Military specialists told Reuters that the missiles appeared to be the ones that were unveiled at a military parade in Pyongyang in October. Jeffrey Lewis of James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies said that if it is, then Thursday’s missiles were likely an improved variant of the previously tested KN-23 missile. 

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The launches on Thursday and an earlier test of short-range, non-ballistic missiles over the weekend came after joint exercises by the United States and South Korea. Kim Jong-un’s sister Kim Yo Jong had warned the US against further provocations if it wants a “good night’s sleep for the next four years.”

North Korea’s latest tests have propelled the country to the top of US president Joe Biden’s foreign policy agenda. In a press conference, he said UN Resolution 1718 was violated by the missiles that were tested.

“We’re consulting with our allies and partners. And there will be responses — if they choose to escalate, we will respond accordingly,” he said. Mr Biden also said that he is “prepared for some form of diplomacy, but it has to be conditioned upon the end result of denuclearisation.”

After a request from the US, the United Nations Security Council North Korea sanctions committee will meet on Friday to discuss the launches.

Japanese prime minister Yoshihide Suga said that the launch in less than a year “represents a threat to peace and stability in Japan and the region and violates UN resolutions.”

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