North Korea has again fired two ballistic missiles, according to the South Korean military. The projectiles were fired from the Tongchang-ri area in North Pyongan province and landed in the Sea of Japan on Sunday, the South Korean general staff said. “Our military has increased surveillance while working closely with the United States and remaining on standby,” the Joint Chiefs of Staff said.
According to the Japanese Defense Ministry, one of the rockets flew around 500 kilometers and reached an altitude of around 550 kilometers. Deputy Defense Minister Toshiro Ino called the shooting “absolutely unacceptable”. He threatens “the peace and security of our country, this region and the international community”.
Pyongyang wants to develop new weapons system
According to North Korean state media, just a few days ago Pyongyang had tested a solid rocket propulsion system “with high thrust”. The test is an important step in the “development of another new type of strategic weapon system,” it said.
All North Korean ICBMs known to date have a liquid rocket engine. Ruler Kim Jong Un has made the development of solid fuel propulsion systems for modern missiles a priority.
The internationally isolated country has been expanding its weapons program for years and is therefore subject to international sanctions. In one of the most powerful missile tests to date, North Korea fired an ICBM in November, which, according to Japanese sources, landed west of the island of Hokkaido.
“Monster missile” could hit USA
The missile appeared to be North Korea’s latest ICBM with a potential range that could hit the US mainland. Experts refer to it as a “monster rocket”.
In response, the US, along with South Korea and Japan, imposed new sanctions on Pyongyang in early December. These punitive measures are aimed, among other things, at those responsible for the North Korean weapons development program.
Ruler Kim wants to set his country’s political course for next year at a party meeting in December. According to state media, he described 2023 as a “historic year”.
Tensions on the Korean Peninsula have risen sharply this year. South Korea and the US have been warning for months that North Korea could test a nuclear weapon in the near future. Kim has announced that he wants to build his country into the world’s most powerful nuclear power.