North Korea says it test-fired missile from train

North Korea said on Saturday it had test-fired a ballistic missile from a train, seen as an apparent retaliation to new sanctions imposed by the Biden administration.

SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea on Saturday said it had test-fired a ballistic missile from a train, seen as an apparent retaliation to new sanctions imposed by the Biden administration.

The North Korean state media report comes a day after South Korea’s military said it detected North Korea firing two missiles into the sea in its third weapons launch this month.

The launch came hours after Pyongyang’s foreign ministry issued a statement berating the United States for imposing new sanctions on North Korea’s previous tests and warning of strong and clear action. than if Washington maintains a “confrontational stance”.

North Korea has in recent months ramped up testing of new missiles designed to overwhelm regional missile defenses amid pandemic-related border closures and nuclear diplomacy with The United States is frozen.

Some experts say North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is reverting to a tried-and-true technique to pressure the United States and its neighbors with missile launches and outrageous threats against the United States. when it comes to negotiating concessions.

North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency said Friday’s drills were aimed at testing the alert posture of the country’s army’s rail missile regiment. Soldiers quickly moved to the launch pad after receiving a brief order to test the missile and fire two “tactically guided” missiles that precisely hit a target at sea, the report said.

North Korea’s Rodong Sinmun newspaper published photos of what appeared to be two different rockets rising from the train cars engulfed in flames.

Cheong Seong-Chang, an analyst at the private Sejong Institute in South Korea, said North Korea may have staged a previously unscheduled launch to show its opposition to the orders. US sanctions.

The rockets fired from the carriages appear to be a short-range solid-fuel weapon that North Korea appears to have modeled on Russia’s Iskander mobile ballistic missile system. First tested in 2019, the missile is designed to be maneuverable and fly at low altitudes, potentially improving its chances of evading and defeating the missile system.

North Korea first launched these missiles from a train last September as part of an effort to diversify launch options, which now include a variety of vehicles and may eventually include trains. implicitly depending on the country’s progress in pursuing such capabilities.

Shooting missiles from trains could add mobility, but some experts say North Korea’s simple rail network that runs through North Korea’s relatively small territory would be quickly destroyed by the enemy within a short period of time. crisis.

The Biden administration on Wednesday imposed sanctions on five North Koreans for their role in purchasing equipment and technology for North Korea’s missile programs in response to previous tests by North Korea. North Korea this month.

The Treasury Department’s announcement came just hours after North Korea said Kim oversaw a successful test of a hypersonic missile on Tuesday that he claimed would greatly enhance “war deterrence.” nuclear war of this country. Tuesday’s test was North Korea’s second demonstration of a hypersonic missile in a week.

Hours before Friday’s launch, KCNA cited a statement issued by an unnamed spokesman for North Korea’s Foreign Ministry stressing that the new sanctions underscore the US hostile intention to “isolated and stifle the ” North Korea.

The spokesman warned of a stronger response if Washington continued its “confrontational stance”.

Hypersonic weapons, which fly at speeds in excess of Mach 5, or five times the speed of sound, can pose an important challenge to missile defenses because of their speed and maneuverability.

Such weapons are on the wish list of complex military assets Kim unveiled early last year along with multi-warhead missiles, spy satellites, long-range solid-fuel missiles and rockets. nuclear fire launched from a submarine.

However, experts say North Korea will need years and more successful and longer-range tests before it has a reliable hypersonic system.

A US-led diplomatic effort to persuade North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons program collapsed in 2019 after the Trump administration rejected North Korea’s request for major sanctions relief to in exchange for giving up part of the country’s nuclear capabilities.

Mr. Kim has since pledged to further expand his nuclear arsenal, which he clearly sees as his most solid guarantee of survival, despite the country’s economy being hit by major setbacks amid the crisis. pandemic-related border closures and persistent US-led sanctions.

His government has so far rejected calls by the Biden administration to resume dialogue without preconditions, saying the United States must first abandon its “hostile policy,” a term The term Pyongyang mainly uses to describe sanctions and combined US-South Korea military exercises.

https://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/north-korea-test-launched-missiles-train-82276616 North Korea says it test-fired missile from train

Emma Bowman

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