North Korea Claims Successful Test of Hypersonic Missile


North Korea state media claimed on Wednesday that a hypersonic nuclear-capable missile was successfully tested on Tuesday. The provocative test-launch into the Sea of Japan was previously described by U.S., Japanese, and South Korean officials as a short-range ballistic missile. Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), the primary state news outlet for the Communist regime, posted a photo of the missile dubbed “Hwasong-8” and claimed it met all of its goals during its test flight, “including the guiding maneuverability and the gliding flight characteristics of the detached hypersonic gliding warhead.” KCNA said the test fulfilled one of dictator Kim Jong-un’s top priorities for weapons development and increased “the nation’s capabilities for self-defense in every way.” Analysts generally agreed North Korea is serious about developing hypersonic weapons, which move at high speed over low altitudes, making them very difficult to detect or intercept. “I am less persuaded than before that there is a North Korean provocation cycle playbook. This is just North Korea proceeding with their logical process of weapons development and testing. They test because it’s part of their process,” Gordon Flake of Australia’s Perth USAsia Center told the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday. However, South Korean monitors said the missile’s top speed was only 2.5 to 3 times the speed of sound, which would technically make it “supersonic” but not “hypersonic.” Hypersonic weapons fly at over five times the speed of sound.

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