North Korea announced that it has successfully tested a hypersonic missile. The reports from South Korea and Japan, which had warned the launch of an “unidentified bullet” from Pyongyang, were therefore confirmed.
According to official North Korean media, the North Korean Academy of Defense Sciences carried out a test on the Hwasong-8 hypersonic missile that was launched from Ryongrim County, Jagang Province, under the supervision of the secretary of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party, Pak Jong Chon.
The success of this launch is of great strategic importance as Pyongyang seeks to increase its defense capabilities. Hypersonic missiles are much faster than conventional ballistic or cruise missiles. They are also much more difficult to detect and intercept by missile defense systems, on which the United States spends billions of dollars.
The official Rodong Sinmun newspaper also published a photo of the missile, equipped with a series of guide vanes, as it soared into the morning sky. The South Korean military broke the news of the test shortly after detecting it. But unlike usual, it did not officially disclose the missile’s maximum altitude reached or distance traveled, information that Seoul generally makes public within an hour.
North Korea continues to be subject to multiple international sanctions for its banned nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs. Despite this, in the last month it has multiplied its tests.