North Korea's claim that its hypersonic missile was recently launched was dismissed by South Korea on Friday as an exaggeration, claiming that it was a normal ballistic missile that could be intercepted. North Korea will undoubtedly be angered by the assessment. As an apparent precaution against escalating relations, South Korea has not publicly contested North Korea's weapons tests.
North Korea has not acquired the technologies required to launch an intercontinental ballistic missile, South Korea's Defence Ministry said.
According to the report, the North Korean missile that was fired on Wednesday was a version of one that was showcased at a weapons exhibition in Pyongyang in October. There was the possibility of it being shot down by US and South Korean forces. According to the ministry, North Korea's claims that the weapon flew more than 700 kilometres and maneuverer laterally seemed exaggerated.
Officials from the Ministry of Defense said the claims were intended to boost public satisfaction with the missile program. As a result of pandemic-related difficulties, Kim Jong Un has called for increased unity and better weapons development.
Washington and Seoul have refused to hold further disarmament talks, and he maintains strict anti-virus measures. As part of its closed consultations on North Korea's launch, the UN Security Council will be briefed by Assistant Secretary-General Khaled Khiari on Monday afternoon. In addition to the United States, United Kingdom, France, Ireland and Albania requested the meeting.
Earlier this week, North Korea claimed to have successfully launched two hypersonic missiles. State media said the test confirmed the weapon's flight control and stability. The missile traveled 120 kilometers lateral before striking a target 700 kilometers away.
A HYPER-SONIC weapon would fly at speeds greater than Mach 5, or five times the sound speed, and thus pose a significant challenge to missile defense systems due to its speed and manoeuvrability.
As part of a wish-list of sophisticated militaristic assets, Kim unveiled solid-fueled long-range missiles, multi-warhead missiles, spy satellites, and underwater nuclear missiles early last year. The North Koreans reported the successful launch of their first hypersonic missile in September. Reports released by the South Korean Defense Ministry state that Wednesday's launch provides no evidence of any technological advancements since the test in September.
In September, the South Korean military said the missiles being tested were at the pre-development stage, and the country will require a considerable amount of time before they are operational. According to the ministry, South Korean missiles have more destructive power and precision guidance than those of North Korea.
There was a clear difference in the shape of the upper parts of the missiles launched this week in comparison to those launched in September. Lee Choon Geun, honorary research fellow at South Korea's Science and Technology Policy Institute believes that the North Koreans might have tested two different warheads or are actually developing two distinct types of missiles.
The South Korean government has made great efforts to improve relations with North Korea under its current liberal government. Since Pyongyang and Washington collapsed a broader nuclear diplomacy in 2019, its appeasement policy has made little progress.
Image source: News 18