February 03, 2022 13:17
North Korea fired seven different types of missiles last month in a frenzy of fireworks to show off its capability to strike South Korea.
Early this week, the North fired a Hwasong-12 mid-range ballistic missile for the first time in four years. Experts believe it is only a matter of time before it launches an intercontinental ballistic missile as well.
North Korean state media said the launch was a random test aimed at checking the quality of its missile arsenal. The Hwasong-12 is believed to have a range of 4,500 km to 5,000 km. The latest one flew to an altitude of 2,000 km and traveled 800 km.
Earlier the North also fired two supposedly hypersonic KN-23 missiles and a long-range cruise missile, a KN-24 surface-to-surface missile and a Hwasong-12.
In January of 2021, North Korea set as its key military objectives the development of a hypersonic missile, solid-fuel ICBM, multi-warhead ICBM, submarine-launched ballistic missile, long-range rocket and unmanned surveillance drone.
The North's official Korean Central News Agency said Tuesday that defense scientists "completed the most important core objective" of developing a hypersonic missile.
North Korea's tactic of mixing the types of missiles it launches could make it extremely difficult for the U.S.' Patriot PAC-3 missiles and Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense system and South Korea's Cheongung surface-to-air missile defenses to thwart an attack.
South Korea and the U.S. are on alert for further provocations by North Korea marking the 80th birthday of former leader Kim Jong-il on Feb. 16 and the 100th birthday of nation founder Kim Il-sung on April 15.
Meanwhile, state TV showed leader Kim Jong-un's aunt Kim Kyong-hui re-emerging to watch a Lunar New Year performance with Kim and his wife, Ri Sol-ju. It was the first time in two years that Kim Kyong-hui has appeared in public. Her husband, Jang Song-thaek, was notoriously executed in 2013.
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