© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un speaks during the Eighth Conference of Military Educationists of the Korean People’s Army at the April 25 House of Culture in Pyongyang, North Korea in this undated photo released on December 7, 2021. KCNA via R
By Hyonhee Shin and Josh Smith
SEOUL (Reuters) – North Korean state media said on Wednesday that the country has conducted a successful test of a hypersonic missile, state media reported, with leader Kim Jong Un attending the launch for the first time in more than a year.
On Tuesday authorities in South Korea and Japan detected the suspected launch, which drew condemnation by authorities in Washington and Tokyo and prompted an expression of concern from the U.N. secretary-general.
It was the second test in less than a week, underscoring Kim’s New Year’s vow to bolster the military with cutting-edge technology at a time when talks with South Korea and the United States have stalled.
“The test-fire was aimed at the final verification of overall technical specifications of the developed hypersonic weapon system,” state news agency KCNA reported.
After its release from the rocket booster, a hypersonic glide vehicle made a 600-km “glide jump flight” and then a 240- km “sea in waters” 1,000 km away, the report said.
“The superior maneuverability of the hypersonic glide vehicle was more strikingly verified through the final test-fire,” KCNA said.
Kim urged military scientists to “further accelerate the efforts to steadily build up the country’s strategic military muscle both in quality and quantity and further modernize the army,” KCNA added.
It was the first time since early 2020 that Kim had officially attended a missile test.
“His presence here would suggest particular attention on this programme,” Ankit Panda, a senior fellow at the U.S.-based Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, posted on Twitter (NYSE:).
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