North Korean leader Kim Jong Un personally oversaw the test of a hypersonic missile, calling on his country to strengthen its strategic military arsenal, state media said yesterday. Pictures released by state media showed the North Korean leader, armed with binoculars and surrounded by men in military uniform, as he watched the missile launch, the second such test by Pyongyang in less than a week.
State media reported last year that hypersonic missiles were among the “highest priorities” of North Korea’s five-year plan. This advanced weapon represented the latest technological advance in the arsenal of the Stalinist regime.
At the conclusion of the test, Kim urged his country to “accelerate efforts to gradually strengthen its military strategic arsenal, whether in terms of quality or quantity, and to continue developing its army,” according to what was reported by the official “North Korea Central News Agency.”
The missile was launched at a time when the UN Security Council was holding a closed meeting on the test conducted by Pyongyang last week, which it said was a hypersonic missile as well.
State Department spokesman Ned Price said the new missile test “violates several Security Council resolutions” and poses “a threat to the international community.” Washington called on Pyongyang to “refrain from provocations.”
“We condemn North Korea’s launch of a ballistic missile,” White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters aboard US President Joe Biden’s plane yesterday. “This operation is a violation of numerous UN Security Council resolutions and poses a threat to North Korea’s neighbors and the international community.”
She noted that the missile launch did not pose a direct threat to the US military, but indicated “the destabilizing effect of North Korea’s illegal weapons program.”
She added that Washington calls on North Korea to refrain from further provocations and to start a serious dialogue, noting that the United States is conducting consultations with its allies and partners on the situation in the region.
This is the third such test by Pyongyang of a hypersonic missile, after its first test in September 2021.
The North Korean agency said that the missile launched yesterday carried “a gliding hypersonic warhead that hit a target in the sea 1,000 km away.” The South Korean military said the launch reached hypersonic speed and showed clear signs of “progress” compared to the test conducted by Pyongyang last week.