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North Korea says test hypersonic missile on Sept. 28


North Korea test-fired a newly developed hypersonic missile on Tuesday as a part of efforts to realize its five-year weapons development plan, the official Korean Central news agency said.

KCNA’s report came on Wednesday, each day after the Japanese government said North Korea fired what appeared to be a missile within the second such launch in two weeks, with the projectile believed to have splashed into waters outside of Japan’s exclusive economic zone within the Sea of Japan.

“The stability of the engine also as of (a) missile fuel ampoule that has been introduced for the first time” was confirmed, the news agency said. It didn’t mention whether North Korean leader Kim Jong Un watched the test-firing.

The development of the Hwasong-8 hypersonic missile “has been pushed forward according to a sequential, scientific and reliable development process,” KCNA said while adding that “test results proved that each one the technical specifications met the design requirements.”

A hypersonic missile can travel at over 10 times the speed of sound. Given it’s difficult for existing missile defense systems to intercept such a projectile, fears about regional security would grow if North Korea has obtained such capabilities, military experts say.

At a ruling party meeting in January, North Korea pledged to introduce a “hypersonic gliding flight warhead.”

Pak Jong Chon, a close aide to Kim, observed Tuesday’s missile test, the news agency said. He was reportedly promoted to the Politburo of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea earlier this month.

North Korea’s latest missile test came on the same day the nation convened a session of its top legislature, the Supreme People’s Assembly.

At the gathering, issues like city development, education of young people, and amendment of the national economic plan were discussed, KCNA reported.

While the country’s economy has been languishing amid the coronavirus pandemic, and negotiations with the united states on denuclearization and sanctions relief have stalled, North Korea has repeatedly test-fired missiles.

On Sept. 13, state-run media said the nation had carried out tests of a new long-range aircraft. Two days later, North Korea fired two ballistic missiles into waters within Japan’s exclusive economic zone within the first test of such weapons in nearly six months.

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