North Korea makes no mention of ICBM in report on more than 80 missile tests | CNN



North Korean state media released images that would show last week’s missile launches with a warning that the so-called “reckless military hysteria” of the United States and its allies is pushing the Korean peninsula toward an “unstable confrontation”.

But it made no mention of the suspected launch failure of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) Thursday, and the information released was too incomplete for experts to really understand what the tests yielded.

According to a report published Monday by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), Pyongyang fired more than 80 missiles between November 2 and 5 and conducted air force exercises with “500 fighters… to demonstrate the will to counter the enemy’s combined air exercise.” . ”

The report said: the maneuvers were in direct response to the “open provocation” of the US-South Korea “Vigilant Storm” exercises that took place in the region last week, which the Allies extended by one day in response to North Korea’s missile salvo.

The KCNA report said missiles had been launched to simulate attacks on enemy air bases and to destroy air targets at various heights and distances. It summarized the number of missiles fired each day, but did not specify which models had been tested.

And it gave very little detail about the missile fired Thursday that Japan and South Korea suspected was ICBM, referring only to a ballistic missile it was testing at the request of the Academy of Defense Sciences.

At a briefing on Monday, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said North Korea’s failure to list the ICBM had not changed its assessment that the missile was an ICBM that “did not fly normally.”

Retired South Korea Lieutenant General Chun In-bum told CNN that the omission of the ICBM from Monday’s state media report suggested Pyongyang does not want to disclose its failure to North Koreans.

“It looks like it failed in the third phase, so whatever North Korea claims, they ignored the UN resolutions and the alliance’s peace overture and conducted a provocative test of an ICBM and it appears to have served its intended purpose.” has not achieved,” he said. said.

“I think we should focus on the facts and not on what North Korea is claiming.”

North Korea has not released any information about the specific missile models fired last week.

South Korea’s JCS said: the ICBM – possibly a North Korean-made Hwasong-15 or Hwasong-17 – reached a maximum altitude of less than 2,000 km and a top speed of about Mach 15, meaning it traveled 15 times the speed of sound – not soon enough, said Park Won-gon, a professor of North Korean studies at Ewha Woman’s University in Seoul.

“ICBMs must reach the speed of Mach 20 or higher for the rocket to go into atmospheric space and travel far with its inertia, but in this test, no such propulsion is believed to have occurred,” Park said.

Thursday’s launch followed a previous one in May, believed to be a Hwasong-17 fired on the heels of US President Joe Biden’s first presidential trip to Asia.

North Korean missile launches, location unknown, North Korea, November 2022.

Kim Dong-yub, a professor at the University of North Korean Studies, a former commander of the South Korean Navy, said the lack of information made it difficult to decipher the progress between the two tests — and that success also depends. of North Korea’s goals.

“What if North Korea conducted tests to obtain certain data it wanted to verify during the development of the missile?” asked Kim. “The experiment may be intended to look at the separation, or it may be to check the flight distance of the missile…depending on the purpose of the test, (the outcome) will be different.”

Monday’s KCNA report referred to a ballistic missile test on Thursday — the test believed to be the ICBM — but said it was used “to verify the fidelity of motion of a special functional warhead that powers the US military’s operational command system.” paralyzes the enemy.”

Kim, of the University of North Korean Studies, said that could indicate a missile used to test a potential EMP (Electromagnetic Pulse) attack. “EMP missiles have to go very high above the ground to be effective,” Kim said.

North Korea says it launched more than 80 missiles between November 2 and 5.

A high-altitude EMP attack would deliver an intense burst of electromagnetic energy powerful enough to disable electronic networks, circuits or communications.

“If the EMP missile is detonated at an altitude of 1000 km or more, it can take the power out of the area and as a result paralyze (the command system).”

But other experts disagree that North Korea was testing a potential EMP missile. Shin Jong-woo, an analyst with South Korea’s Defense and Security Forum, said EMP missiles are normally only fired to heights of hundreds of kilometers, not thousands.

South Korean military experts continue to examine the images and data to determine the status of North Korea’s weapons program, but experts warn claims in the state media should be treated with skepticism.

Shin said the multiple launches could be a sign that North Korea is racing to prove its capabilities.

“In the past, when North Korea launched a certain missile, it showed off by presenting specific data, but today’s announcement seems to have a lot of fictitious content.

“North Korea conducted a nuclear test after it showed it could attack the US mainland,” Shin said. “But the Hwasong-17 tests fail, so it seems that North Korea is launching so many missiles because it is in a desperate situation and in a hurry to prove itself.”

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