South Korea’s joint chiefs of staff said the military was analyzing North Korean launches based on U.S. and South Korean intelligence agencies.
Kim doubled his pledge to step up his nuclear deterrence in the face of U.S. sanctions and pressure during a ruling Labor Party congress in January, and posted a long wish list of new sophisticated assets, including longer-range ballistic ICBMs, nuclear-powered underground vehicles. Boats, spy satellites and tactical nuclear weapons. Kim also said at the time that his national defense scientists were developing “medium-range cruise missiles with the world’s most powerful warheads.”
North Korea’s weapons tests are said to build a nuclear and missile program that can withstand the alleged hostility of the US and South Korea, but they are also seen by outside analysts as a way to get their political demands across to leaders in Washington and Seoul.
The north’s resumption of testing is likely an attempt to pressure the Biden administration over diplomatic freezing after Kim failed to use his arsenal for economic gain during Donald Trump’s presidency.
North Korea ended a year-long ballistic test hiatus in March by launching two short-range ballistic missiles into the sea.
But there were no known test starts months after that as Kim focused national efforts on fending off the coronavirus and saving its economy.
KCNA said the missiles tested over the weekend flew “along an oval and pattern-8 trajectory” over North Korean land and water for 126 minutes before hitting their targets.
“The test starts showed that the technical parameters such as the thrust of the newly developed turbine blast engine, the navigation control of the missiles and the guided hit accuracy thanks to the combined guided mode met the design requirements. Overall, the efficiency and practicability of the weapon system was confirmed as excellent, ”it said.
It appeared that Kim wasn’t there to watch the tests. KCNA said Kim’s chief military official, Pak Jong Chon, watched the test shots and urged the country’s defense scientists to “do everything possible to increase the north’s military capabilities.”
Kim’s powerful sister hinted last month that North Korea was ready to resume weapons testing, while also issuing a statement berating the United States and South Korea for continuing their joint military exercises in what she believes is “the liveliest expression of hostility US policy ”.
She then said the North would increase its pre-emptive strike capabilities while another senior official threatened unspecified countermeasures that would put the allies in a “security crisis.”
The Allies say the exercises are defensive in nature, but they have canceled or scaled them down in recent years to make room for diplomacy or in response to COVID-19.
Talks between the United States and North Korea have stalled since the failure of a Trump-Kim summit in 2019 when the Americans rejected calls by the North for extensive sanctions against a partial abandonment of its nuclear capacities. Kim’s government has so far rejected the Biden government’s offers of dialogue and demands that Washington first give up its “hostile” policies.
The latest tests came after Kim hosted an unusual parade in the capital, Pyongyang last week, which marked a marked departure from previous militaristic displays of anti-virus workers in protective suits and civil protection organizations involved in industrial work and the rebuilding of floods Communities instead of missiles were involved, and other provocative weapons were presented.
Experts said the parade focused on internal unity as Kim now faces what is perhaps his toughest trial as North Korea wrestles with US-led economic sanctions over its nuclear weapons, pandemic border closings that weigh on its broken economy, and food shortages worsen due to floods in recent summers.