North Korea had fired the missile on April 13, south Korea informed, triggering fears in North Japan. North Korea has announced the successful test of its first solid-fuel intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), a key goal of leader Kim Jong Un’s plan to develop more advanced and powerful weaponry.
It marked a major step in Pyongyang’s capacity to conduct a nuclear counterstrike, state media reported. North Korean state media confirmed the launch of the missile, dubbed the Hwasong-18, on April 14 morning.
Developing a solid-fuel ICBM has long been seen as a key goal for North Korea, as it could help the North deploy its missiles faster.
All of Pyongyang’s known intercontinental ballistic missiles are liquid-fueled, and solid-fuel ICBMs that can be launched from land or submarines have long been at the top of Kim’s wish list.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un guided the test warning “enemies of extreme uneasiness and horror” as the new missile will make them “experience a clearer security crisis, and constantly strike extreme uneasiness and horror into them by taking fatal and offensive counter-actions until they abandon their senseless thinking and reckless acts”.
This also marks North Korea’s first use of solid propellants in an intermediate-range or intercontinental ballistic missile; experts told Reuters.
The missile launch comes with the backdrop of increasing tensions between North Korea and South Korea as Pyongyang recently slammed US-South Korea joint military exercises.
The latest test served as a reminder of a bevvy of weapons Kim’s regime has rolled out in recent months to deliver a nuclear strike as it refuses to engage in disarmament-for-aid talks that have been stalled for years.
North Korea said it tested a new type of solid-fuel intercontinental ballistic missile that could deliver multiple nuclear warheads to the US mainland, which would increase its ability to deliver an atomic strike.
At a military parade in Pyongyang in February, North Korea showed off a record number of nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missiles, including what analysts said was possibly a new solid-fuel ICBM.
The announcement comes just before North Korea is set to mark one of its most important political anniversaries, the Day of the Sun, on April 15.
The date commemorates founding leader Kim Il-sung’s birth anniversary and has typically been celebrated with significant weapons tests or military parades.