Not long after South Korea announced the launch of its third 3000-ton ballistic submarine, North Korea shocked the world by announcing that it had completed the first flight of its hypersonic missile, as reported by AP. And the news seems a bit sketchy considering that the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) just released a single image of the test, whereas previously there were quite a dozen of them along with videos.
Since February 2019, peace negotiations between the Korean nations have not been too successful even with U.S playing as a peace broker. Pyongyang believes that developing nuclear weapons is its right whereas South Korea demonstrating a series of new missile technologies isn’t helping ease the tension between the two counterparts either.
It seems like North Korea believes in actions speaking louder than words and by demonstrating a nuclear-capable missile to the world, it hopes to bring the U.S and South Korea back to the discussion board. As claimed by KNCA, the missile flight “met key technical requirements that include launch stability and maneuverability of the hypersonic gliding warhead.”
Ankit Panda, an expert on North Korea’s weapons, analyzed the single picture released by KNCA and suggested that the missile could be harboring a Maneuverable Re-entry Vehicle (MaRV) payload.
While a MaRV payload has less maneuverability than other technologies, it is still hypersonic and difficult to detect and intercept. And judging by North Korea’s stance of calling it a “strategic” missile, it’s most likely capable of a nuclear attack.
Meanwhile, South Korean officials aren’t too worried about the announcement and have called the test to be preliminary and “nowhere near actual deployment,” according to AP News report. It’s still too early to tell the details about the test unless North Korea decides to share any more information regarding it.