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HomeWorld NewsNorth Korea tests 'super-large warhead' - state media | News24

North Korea tests ‘super-large warhead’ – state media | News24


This picture, taken on 19 April 2024 and released by North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on 20 April 2024, shows the DPRK Missile Administration conducting a power test of a super-large warhead designed for “Hwasal-1 Ra-3” strategic cruise missile in the West Sea of Korea. (KCNA via KNS / AFP)

  • North Korea has tested a “super-large warhead”
    for a strategic cruise missile, amid concerns it could be supplying weapons to
    Russia for use in Ukraine.
  • This follows Russia’s veto at the UN Security Council,
    ending monitoring of sanctions violations by North Korea.
  • Analysts suggest the tests could be in response to
    Russian demand for military support.

North Korea
has tested a “super-large warhead” designed for a strategic cruise
missile, state media said Saturday, the most recent test since UN sanctions
monitoring against the nuclear-armed nation was upended last month by Russia.

The
announcement comes after Russia in March used its United Nations Security
Council veto to effectively end UN monitoring of violations of the raft of
sanctions on Kim Jong Un’s government for its nuclear and weapons programme.

Analysts
have warned that North Korea could be testing cruise missiles ahead of sending
them to Russia for use in Ukraine, with Washington and Seoul claiming Kim has
shipped weapons to Moscow despite UN sanctions banning any such moves.

“The
DPRK Missile Administration has conducted a power test of a super-large warhead
designed for ‘Hwasal-1 Ra-3’ strategic cruise missile”, KCNA news agency
said Saturday, referring to North Korea by an abbreviation for its official
name.

North Korea
also carried out a test launch of a “‘Pyoljji-1-2’ new-type anti-aircraft
missile in the West Sea of Korea”, KCNA said, adding that both tests were
carried out on Friday afternoon.

This picture, taken on 19 April 2024 and released

This picture, taken on 19 April 2024 and released by North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on 20 April 2024, shows the DPRK Missile Administration conducting a test launch of “Pyoljji-1-2” new-type anti-aircraft missiles in the West Sea of Korea. (KCNA via KNS / AFP)

Seoul’s
military said Saturday it detected “several cruise missiles and
surface-to-air missiles” fired toward the same body of water, also known
as the Yellow Sea, at around 15:30 (0630GMT) Friday.

It added
that it was “closely watching” the North’s military activities, and
if Pyongyang “commits a provocation, we will punish it overwhelmingly and
resolutely”.

This year,
Pyongyang has declared South Korea its “principal enemy”, jettisoned
agencies dedicated to reunification and outreach, and threatened war over
“even 0.001 mm” of territorial infringement.

Unlike
their ballistic counterparts, the testing of cruise missiles is not banned
under current UN sanctions on North Korea.

Cruise
missiles tend to be jet-propelled and fly at a lower altitude than more
sophisticated ballistic missiles, making them harder to detect and intercept.

‘Russian demand’

Ahn
Chan-il, a defector turned researcher who runs the World Institute for North
Korea Studies, told AFP that the test announced Saturday appears to involve
“a new type of solid fuel, and it seems to be part of the production of
exports in response to Russian demand.”

Pyongyang
said Saturday the tests were “part of the regular activities” of the
country’s missile administration and had “nothing to do with the
surrounding situation”.

A
“certain goal was attained” through the tests, it added, without
giving further details.

Yang
Moo-jin, president of the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul, said it
appeared that the tests were intended “to determine the type and potency –
in terms of weight and destructiveness – of a warhead that can be equipped on a
highly manoeuvrable cruise missile”.

North Korea
will continue to “make improvements in the performance of its conventional
weapons, as well as its cruise missiles”, on top of its nuclear programme,
he told AFP.

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Last year,
the North conducted a record number of missile tests in defiance of UN
sanctions in place since 2006 and despite warnings from Washington and Seoul.

Pyongyang
declared itself an “irreversible” nuclear weapons state in 2022.

In early
April, North Korea said it had tested a new medium-to-long-range solid-fuel
hypersonic missile.

The largely
isolated country has recently bolstered military ties with Moscow, and this
month, it thanked Russia for its veto blocking the renewal of a panel of UN
experts that monitored international sanctions against it.

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