Kim Jong Un puffs on a cigarette as he is dwarfed by a smoke cloud while supervising test of new missile that is harder to detect and can reach mainland US.
The North Korean leader was laughing as he puffed on a cigarette, supervising the test of a ‘high-thrust solid-fuel motor’ for a new strategic weapon on Thursday.
The official Korean Central News Agency confirmed that Thursday’s ‘static firing test’ of a missile engine at the country’s northwest rocket launch facility was the first of its kind in North Korea.
It was gathered that the test provided ‘a sure sci-tech guarantee for the development of another new-type strategic weapon system.’
Kim was elated to see the latest development as he praised scientists and technicians over the test, saying he expected the new weapon would be built ‘in the shortest span of time’ – referring to a solid-fueled ICBM.
He has promised his country to introduce such mass weapon during a major ruling Workers’ Party conference early last year.
Other weapons systems Kim promised to manufacture include a multi-warhead missile, underwater-launched nuclear missiles and spy satellites.
The latest motor test showed that North Korea is determined to carry out Kim’s vows to develop such sophisticated weapons systems despite its pandemic-related domestic hardships and US-led international pressures to curb its nuclear program.
With the developments happening in North Korea, some experts believe North Korea would eventually use an expanded arsenal to seek sanctions relief and other concessions from the United States.
KCNA said Thursday’s test was meant to verify specific technical features of the motor based on ‘the thrust vector controlling technology’ and that the test showed all the technical indices proved its reliability and stability.
If the North’s motor test made the reported progress as it claimed, the country would be able to test-fire a solid-fueled ICBM within the first half of next year, Chang said.
The exact status of North Korea’s nuclear attack capability is what they keep in secrecy, as all its intercontinental ballistic missile tests in recent years have been carried out at a steep angle to avoid neighboring countries.