SEOUL, South Korea – North Korea fired a newly developed anti-aircraft missile on Thursday, state media reported on Friday, the latest in its latest series of weapons tests amid stalled denuclearization talks with the United States.
It was North Korea’s second known weapons test this week after a previously unknown hypersonic missile was launched on Tuesday. It has also launched ballistic missiles and a cruise missile with potentially nuclear capabilities in the past few weeks.
The tests revealed how North Korea is steadily developing increasingly sophisticated weapons and increasing the commitment to efforts to urge it to abandon its nuclear and missile programs in exchange for easing US sanctions.
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The Academy of Defense Science, a developer of military weapons, said the test was aimed at confirming the practical functionality of the rocket launcher, radar, comprehensive combat command vehicle and combat performance, according to the official KCNA news agency.
It added that the missile has new key technologies such as double rudder control and double impulse aircraft engine.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un does not appear to have participated in the test, which was instead led by Pak Jong Chon, a member of the powerful Politburo and Central Committee of the ruling Labor Party.
“The remarkable combat performance of the new anti-aircraft missile with the characteristics of the rapid reactivity and steering accuracy of the missile control system as well as the significant increase in the range of shot air targets was confirmed,” said KCNA, citing the academy.
Pyongyang has argued in recent weeks that its weapons tests, like others, are intended to strengthen self-defense skills, accusing the US and South Korea of ”double standards” and “hostile policies”.
On Wednesday, Kim said he had no reason to attack South Korea and was ready to reopen segregated inter-Korean hotlines this month. But he criticized President Joe Biden’s administration for using “smarter ways and methods” in pursuing hostile policies while proposing dialogue.
Analysts say the North’s carrot-and-whip approach aims to secure international recognition as a nuclear-armed state and drive a wedge between the two allies, facing South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s desire for a diplomatic legacy before his term ends next year.
The Biden government has stated that it has no hostile intentions towards North Korea and has urged Pyongyang to accept his offers to talk in order to overcome an impasse in the denuclearization negotiations.