(ATTN: ADDS analysis on missile type, responses to paragraphs 3, 8-10, 15-17; TRIMS)
By Oh Seok-min
SEOUL, Sept. 28 (Yonhap) – North Korea fired a short-range missile in the East Sea on Tuesday, the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said on Tuesday, just days after Pyongyang has announced the prospect of an inter-Korean summit if the South drops “double standards”.
The missile was fired from the North Mupyong-ri in Jagang Province eastward at around 6:40 a.m., JCS said, adding that South Korean and US intelligence authorities were analyzing the launch for additional information.
He did not say whether the projectile is a ballistic missile and did not disclose details such as its flight range and altitude. Sources have raised the possibility that it is a Hypersonic Gliding Vehicle (HGV) or a new type of weapon given its unique trajectory and other characteristics.
The launch came three days after Kim Yo-jong, sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, said Pyongyang could officially declare the end of the Korean War as suggested by the South and even discuss the possibility of ‘a summit on the conditions that Seoul abandon its double standards and its hostile attitudes towards it.
The North has long accused South Korea and the United States of double standards, saying it makes no sense for them to denounce the North’s missile launches and other weapons tests as “provocations” prohibited then. that they are free to carry out such tests.
Tuesday’s launch could be designed to test whether the South would still call it a provocation.
In Seoul, senior security officials held an emergency National Security Council (NSC) security meeting and expressed regret over the launch. President Moon Jae-in has ordered a “full analysis” of the missile launch and recent northern statements, his office said.
Defense Ministry spokesman Boo Seung-chan also expressed regret and said the government was analyzing the North’s launch and intention. He dismissed speculation that Seoul did not qualify the launch as a provocation so as not to enrage the North, saying more analysis is needed to determine its exact type.
The United States has condemned the missile launch, which violates UN Security Council resolutions and poses a threat to the region and the international community.
The US Indo-Pacific Command said in a separate statement that the gunfire “highlights the destabilizing impact of the DPRK’s illicit weapons program” although it does not pose an immediate threat to the states. United and their allies.
North Korea is banned from all ballistic missile activity under UN resolutions, although Pyongyang has claimed they are aimed at bolstering self-defense against threats posed by South Korea and the United States.
If the projectile is confirmed to be a ballistic missile, it would be the third such launch so far this year and the sixth known major weapons test if the cruise missile test shots are taken. into account.
On September 15, the North fired two short-range missiles, believed to be its version of the Iskander, into the East Sea, just days after launching a new type of cruise missile.
Sources in Seoul said the missile flew less than 200 kilometers at an altitude of about 60 kilometers, adding that it exhibited “different flight characteristics from missiles previously tested by the North.”
“The missile could be something new, like a hypersonic missile,” said Professor Kim Dong-yup of the Far Eastern Institute at Kyungnam University. Heavy goods vehicles follow a much flatter and lower trajectory compared to traditional ballistic missiles, it is difficult to detect and intercept them, he added.
At a party convention in January, leader Kim Jong-un called on the military to further develop its missile capabilities, noting that his country was preparing to test and produce new weapons such as a “warhead. of supersonic glide for new types of ballistic rockets “.
North Korea has launched several new types of missiles in recent years as denuclearization talks with the United States stalled and in response to the introduction of advanced military means by South Korea.
Earlier this week, South Korea announced the successful testing of a submarine-launched ballistic missile from a new submarine and unveiled the development of a supersonic cruise missile. The Navy also launched on Tuesday a new 3,000-ton submarine capable of pulling SLBMs.
Kim Song, North Korea’s ambassador to the UN, reiterated his country’s position on Tuesday, saying it had “the legitimate right” to develop and test weapons due to threats from the United States and of South Korea, and urging the United States to “stop definitively” with South Korea and the deployment of strategic weapons to the South.
Joe Biden’s government has said it is ready to hold talks with the North anywhere, anytime, but the Communist country has remained insensitive to American overtures.
Pyongyang has also remained insensitive to South Korea’s calls through military hotlines despite cautious optimism about their resumption after Kim’s statement.