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North Korea Claims A Successful Missile Test Amid Rising Tensions With South

North Korea claimed on Tuesday, that it conducted a test and fired a new tactical ballistic missile with a “super-large warhead,” but South Korean officials and experts doubt this, suggesting the North may have faked the test to cover up a failed launch. This is the second time recently that South Korea has questioned North […]

North Korea claimed on Tuesday, that it conducted a test and fired a new tactical ballistic missile with a “super-large warhead,” but South Korean officials and experts doubt this, suggesting the North may have faked the test to cover up a failed launch. This is the second time recently that South Korea has questioned North Korea’s new weapons claims in the middle of rising tensions over missile tests.

The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported that Monday’s test involved the Hwasongpho-11 Da-4.5 missile, which can carry a 4.5-ton warhead. The test aimed to check the missile’s flight stability and accuracy at ranges between 90 kilometers (55 miles) and 500 kilometers (310 miles). South Korea observed two missile launches by North on Monday. According to South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff spokesperson Lee Sung Joon, one missile landed in an uninhabited area near Pyongyang. Lee suggested that the second missile may have flown abnormally and probably exploded, scattering debris on the ground.

KCNA did not reveal where the missile was launched or where it landed, nor did it release any photos, unlike previous tests. North’s claim of testing the missile’s maximum and minimum ranges suggests there were two launches. KCNA said they plan to test the missile again in July at a range of 250 kilometers (155 miles).

Experts think that North Korea might be testing how powerful their warheads are against underground targets. However, the lack of photos makes some, like military expert Shin Jongwoo believe North is hiding a failed launch and used an existing missile instead of a new one. Yang Uk from the Asan Institute for Policy Studies said the tests fit North Korea’s goal to expand its conventional weapons but noted they would likely have shown photos if the tests were successful.

Since 2022, North Korea has increased its weapons testing to build up its nuclear arsenal, with new missile ranges aimed at South. Experts think North wants to use more weapons to gain an advantage in talks with the US.

On June 26, North tested a multiwarhead missile designed to get through missile defenses. Although North said the test was successful, South disagreed, saying the missile exploded and scattered debris off North Korea’s east coast.

South Korea responded with live-fire drills near the heavily fortified border with North Korea, the first since ending a 2018 agreement to reduce military tensions. Similar drills were also held near the disputed western sea boundary. These actions might prompt North to take aggressive steps at the borders.

During a recent four-day ruling party meeting, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un claimed that the country’s economic and food situations had improved and set goals for steady economic development. Security and foreign policy issues were not discussed.

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missile testsNorth-South KoreaRising tensionsTDGThe Daily Guardian