February 21, 2023 14:03
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's sister Yo-jong on Monday lashed out at suggestions by South Korean experts that there were serious technical snags in the North's launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile on Feb. 18.
Kim denounced as "rubbish" and "farfetched defamation" South Korean experts' doubts about the regime's ability to carry out a surprise missile launch because it took more than nine hours from the time the order was given to the launch.
In a statement published by the North's official Korean Central News Agency on Monday, Kim Yo-jong claimed that what may have looked like a technical hitch was intentional and a triumph of North Korean planning.
The North "took important military action at the most appropriate time, specified in the order -- the time between [3:30 p.m. and 7:45 p.m. ...] when seven scout planes of the enemy involved in air reconnaissance [had] landed."
"The concept of a surprise launch doesn't mean the time that it takes between the issuing of a launch order and the launching," she insisted.
And far from slowing down the launch progress, she claimed the liquid fuel powering the ICBM had already been put into a separate "fuel ampoule."
"Those, who have never made it themselves, went so absurd and stupid as to comment on other's technology at will after seeing some sci-tech data," she fumed.
She was also incensed by doubts cast on the missile re-entry technology that allow the rocket to survive the shock and heat of returning to the atmosphere. Kim went into some detail to refute suggestions from experts that the missile was damaged on re-entry.
"We have possessed satisfactory technology and capability and, now will focus on increasing the quantity of their force," she said. "They had better rack their brains to make measures to defend themselves instead of doubting or worrying about other's technology."
Military authorities here admitted that the North has eyes on South Korean spy planes. The North "probably has its own early warning radar system capable of watching reconnaissance aircraft taking off from and landing at air bases here," an intelligence officer said.
"Indeed, there were no South Korean or U.S. reconnaissance aircraft up in the air during the time of the launch," he added.
But military authorities said the statement was probably a bluff.
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