NNorth Korea says it has tested a new type of missile. The day before, dictator Kim Jong-un had led the test of “a new medium-range solid-fuel ballistic missile loaded with a newly developed hypersonic glide warhead,” the state news agency KCNA announced on Wednesday. The state media called the model “Hwasongpho-16B”. After separating from the launch vehicle, the glider reached a height of 101 kilometers and flew 1,000 kilometers. The test demonstrated the “excellent maneuverability” of the sliding body, the state media concluded.

North Korea's enemies have recently strengthened their military alliance and conducted all sorts of military exercises, Kim said, according to KCNA. He was probably referring to the deepened military cooperation between the United States, Japan and South Korea in recent months. In January, the three states held a joint naval exercise. “It is currently the most urgent task of our state to develop superior power capable of containing and controlling our enemies,” he was quoted as saying.

South Korea: Increase our vigilance

According to Kim, the test proved that North Korea is capable of propelling all missiles with solid fuel and equipping them with nuclear warheads. Of course, the dictator's claim cannot be verified. North Korea has been working on solid-fuel rockets for a long time. A corresponding drive for a medium-range missile is said to have been tested in March. The regime expects this to give it a time advantage in the event of a conflict. Solid rockets can be stored already filled with fuel and are ready for use more quickly than rockets that first have to be filled with liquid fuel.

The South Korean military announced on Tuesday that it had registered the launch of a medium-range ballistic missile near the North Korean capital Pyongyang. She landed in the sea between the Korean Peninsula and Japan. However, according to information from South Korea, the rocket only flew 600 kilometers. The General Staff said it was coordinating closely with the United States. North Korea's provocations have not gone unnoticed; South Korea has once again increased its vigilance.

The relationship between the two Koreas is currently tense. South Korea will elect a new parliament next week. The election is seen as a test of sentiment for President Yoon Suk-yeol, who is taking a much more confrontational course in North Korea policy than his predecessor. At the same time, he advocates rapprochement with Tokyo, which is met with criticism due to the war crimes committed by Japan. Kim, in turn, declared South Korea the “most hostile country” in January and abandoned the goal of peaceful reunification. Since then, North Korea has repeatedly fired missiles and conducted military maneuvers.

Several UN resolutions prohibit North Korea from launching and testing nuclear-capable missiles. Due to its nuclear and missile program, the country was also subjected to various sanctions by the UN and individual states. Last Thursday, however, Russia blocked the extension of the mandate of a body that reviews sanctions violations in the UN Security Council. China abstained from the vote, all other states voted for the extension. The committee's mandate therefore expired in April. The U.S. deputy U.N. ambassador then addressed Russia in the meeting, raising the question of how a civilized nation could block the extension.

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