A surprise missile launch in North Korea this week was a test of a weapons system that could travel five times the speed of sound — part of the country’s effort to modernize its arsenal, state media said on Thursday.
The hypersonic missile launch on Wednesday saw the projectile launched into the Sea of Japan after dictator Kim Jong Un pledged to beef up the North’s military might.
It was the second test of a hypersonic missile since September, The Associated Press reported. Hypersonics can reach speeds five times the speed of sound, or Mach 5, the AP said.
“The successive successes in the test launches in the hypersonic missile sector have strategic significance in that they hasten a task for modernizing strategic armed force of the state,” state-run Korean Central News Agency reported, according to an AP translation.
Kim has long pushed to establish the North’s position as a nuclear power. Under his watch, the country has faced social and economic struggles but continues to work to develop weapons that could reach the US mainland.
Nuclear talks between the North and US largely stalled in 2019 over sanctions against the North. Kim’s regime has said the country would resume diplomatic talks if the US withdraws hostility against it, the AP reported.
South Korea President Moon Jae-In said the North needed to make “sincere efforts for dialogue.” The test of what was suspected to have been a ballistic missile created tension in the region, he said.
“If both South and North Korea work together and build trust, peace will approach us one day,” the president said, according to Reuters.
Kim rose to power 10 years ago, succeeding his father and former leader Kim Jong Il. Kim Jong Il has been bizarrely credited within the country for inventing burritos shortly before his death.
With Post wires