North Korea 'successfully' tests Kim Jong-un's coveted multiwarhead missile

North Korea has said it had successfully tested a multiwarhead missile, a sophisticated weapon coveted by leader Kim Jong-un to overwhelm missile defences in the continental United States.

The launch tested the separation and guidance control of individual mobile warheads to ensure the capability of the Multiple Independent Reentry Vehicles, the North's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said on Thursday.

The separated mobile warheads "were guided correctly to the three coordinate targets," and a decoy that separated from the missile was verified by radar, it said.

It was North Korea's first known launch event related to the development of a multiwarhead missile, though outside experts believe it was a preliminary test.

KCNA, citing the country's Missile Administration, said it was significant to bolster North Korea's missile forces and develop missile technologies so that testing of the weapon had entered a full-scale stage.

"I had been anticipating a MIRV test for some time now, as this was one of the last remaining items on Kim Jong-un's modernisation wish list from the 8th Party Congress back in January 2021," said Ankit Panda, a senior analyst at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Panda said on Wednesday's test appeared to be an initial evaluation of some of the key subsystems needed to develop a workable MIRV. He expects successive tests of the technology to follow, leading up to the launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile on a lofted trajectory.

South Korea's military had no immediate response to the North's statement. But Panda said it appeared that "South Korea misinterpreted the nature of this test initially."

South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff had said on Wednesday it suspected the weapon launched by North Korea was a solid-fueled hypersonic missile. It said the missile blew up off the North's east coast, scattering fragments in the water.

Tensions in Korea

Wednesday's test was the North's first weapons launch since it fired nuclear-capable multiple rocket launchers to simulate a preemptive attack on South Korea almost a month ago.

In recent weeks, North Korea has also floated numerous trash-carrying balloons toward South Korea in what it has described as a tit-for-tat response to South Korean activists sending political leaflets via their own balloons.

In response, South Korea, on June 9, briefly conducted propaganda loudspeaker broadcasts at border areas for the first time in years.

Tensions between the two Koreas mounted further in recent weeks after Seoul said its military fired warning shots after North Korean soldiers allegedly crossed the heavily fortified border briefly.

Worries about North Korea also deepened last week when Kim Jong-un and Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a deal requiring each country to provide aid to the other if it is attacked and vowed to boost other cooperation.

Analysts say the accord represents the strongest connection between the two countries since the end of the Cold War.


Source: TRT