Based on an assessment of its characteristics such as speed, it is at an initial phase of development and would take a considerable time to be deployed.South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff on North Korea’s test launch of a new hypersonic missile on Tuesday.
- North Korea claims to have successfully test-fired a new hypersonic missile. The North says this test launch, and others, are exercises of their right to national defense.
- The hypersonic missile, called “Hwasong-8,” is the third test missile the North has launched this month. Only four other countries are working on developing hypersonic missiles: the United States, China, Russia and India.
- Hypersonic missiles can travel about five times the speed of sound and can be maneuvered in the air, making them harder to intercept once fully developed.
- There is also a concern about the missiles’ potential nuclear capability. North Korea has developed nuclear weapons.
- On Monday, North Korea’s ambassador to the United Nations requested the U.S. to end joint military exercises with South Korea, an important U.S. ally whom the U.S. has an alliance to protect, calling the exercises “hostile policy,” along with U.N. sanctions placed on the North to restrict its ballistic missile and nuclear weapons development.
Big Picture: Though the hypersonic missile that was tested is reportedly in early stages of development and does not pose an immediate threat, the launch underscores North Korea’s intentions of continuing weapons development and provocative action. The U.S. State Dept. has designated North Korea one of only 4 state sponsors of terrorism.
In a Monday speech at the United Nations General Assembly, a senior Pyongyang diplomat defended the North’s weapons advances as self-defense, harboring no intentions of deploying them on the U.S., South Korea or neighboring countries. Kim Song, head of the North’s permanent mission at the U.N., reiterated an oft-repeated regime demand that the country’s missile program exists to ward off threats from the U.S. and its “hostile policy” toward the impoverished country.
by Jenna Lee,