December 19, 2022 12:50
North Korea fired two medium-range ballistic missiles at a steep angle from Tongchang-ri in North Pyongan Province into the East Sea on Sunday. The regime seems to be testing new solid-propellant missiles, after testing a high-thrust solid-fuel rocket engine at the same place on Dec. 15.
The Joint Chiefs of Staff here said U.S. military bases on Guam and in Japan are within the range of the missiles. Fired at a high angle at around 11 a.m. and noon, the missiles flew 500 km and fell into waters outside Japan's exclusive economic zone.
At a normal angle they would have flown more than 1,000 km.
The latest launch came only a month after the North launched an intercontinental ballistic missile.
Solid-fuel missiles can be launched much more quickly than liquid-fuel missiles that need to be filled up with a hose, so the North Korean military can avoid detection prior to launch.
This year alone, the North has fired 65 ballistic missiles on 36 occasions, and 51 of them were short-range ones using solid propellants. Now it apparently wants to expand the range of solid-fuel rockets.
The launches cost an estimated US$400-650 million, which would have been enough money for COVID vaccines for the entire North Korean population of 25 million people or solving the country's food shortage.
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