September 29, 2021 11:09
North Korea on Wednesday claimed it test-fired a newly developed hypersonic missile a day earlier that has "strategic significance."
State media said the development of the new missile is "of great strategic significance in markedly boosting the independent power of ultra-modern defense science and technology of the country and in increasing the nation's capabilities for self-defense in every way."
Tuesday's launch was the North's sixth this year and came just three days after North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's sister Yo-jong mentioned the possibility of another inter-Korean summit.
Military authorities here initially believed the projectile was a ballistic missile, but it traveled less than 200 km and flew to a height of around 30 km, which is half of the height reached by the short-range missile the North fired on Sept. 15.
South Korean and U.S. officials earlier speculated that it would be a new type of missile. "It was observed rising like a ballistic missile and traveled like a cruise missile after descending," a military spokesman said.
But they were not convinced that it was a functioning hypersonic missile. "A hypersonic missile travels at a speed of more than Mach 5, so the latest missile does not appear to have been completed," the spokesman said. "It could have been an early test in the development of a hypersonic missile."
An emergency meeting of the National Security Council at Cheong Wa Dae on Tuesday expressed "regret" at the missile launch, which it said came at a "crucial time in stabilizing the political situation on the Korean Peninsula."
- Copyright © Chosunilbo & Chosun.com