North Korea confirmed that it fired a "new type" of solid-fuel intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) on Thursday (April 13th), a first for the country, according to South Korea's Yonhap news agency. According to Yonhap, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said the test marks a major technological breakthrough for the country's weapons program.
All intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) launched so far by North Korea have been liquid fueled. However, solid-fuel missiles, which Pyongyang has long sought to develop, are more stable and faster to prepare, which makes it more difficult for the enemy to detect and destroy them.
According to the official KCNA news agency, the missile tested on Thursday morning, a "Hwasong-18", will constitute a "key asset of the strategic military force" of the North. The development of this new weapon "will fundamentally revamp our strategic deterrence and enhance the effectiveness of our nuclear counterattack," Kim Jong-un said, according to KCNA.
This "new type of ICBM is a rapid advancement in nuclear counterattack," Kim Jong-un said, according to Yonhap. The South Korean military said on Thursday that North Korea had "launched a new type of ballistic missile, possibly solid-fuelled." "The reason North Korea is obsessed with solid-fuel missiles is that they will drastically reduce preparation time before launch," says Go Myong-hyun, a research fellow at the Asan Institute of Policy Studies. "This is important because the longer it takes to get the missile out of a silo or tunnel, the higher the risk of destruction before launch. »
At a military parade in Pyongyang in February, North Korea showed off a record number of missiles, including what analysts believe is a new solid-propellant ICBM.
This shot triggered a brief alert on the island of Hokkaido, in northern Japan, but the Japanese government quickly confirmed that the projectile had not fallen on its territory.