North Korea announced on Thursday that the ballistic missiles launched on Wednesday were part of training conducted by the railway mobile missile regiment, which was newly established early this year. The country also released pictures of launching ballistic missiles from a train for the first time. Most ballistic missiles so far had been launched from transporter erector launchers. The Wednesday training seems to be part of the efforts to strengthen North Korea’s nuclear power to target South Korea by unexpectedly firing multiple strategic nuclear missiles to the South, which was ordered by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at the Congress of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea in January this year.
Experts say that the South Korean military needs to urgently come up with more advanced detection and interception systems as the North is now equipped with a railway-borne missile system targeting the South, following submarine-launched ballistic missiles.
“The railway mobile missile regiment participated in training with a mission to move to the central mountainous area in the early morning of Wednesday and fire missiles to hit the target 800 kilometers away,” the Korean Central News Agency reported on Thursday. “The regiment quickly completed the maneuver according to the operation guidelines of railway-borne missile system and the sequence of actions and accurately hit the target 800 kilometers away in the East Sea.
Pak Jong Chon, a member of the Presidium of the Politburo of the Workers' Party of Korea, led the training attended by the military government leadership and the department of munitions industry of the Central Commission of the Workers' Party of Korea and senior officials of the General Staff Department of the Korean People's Army and the national defense science and research sector without Kim Jong Un, according to the Korean Central News Agency. The pictures published by the news agency feature a missile similar to KN-23 rising from the open roof of a train with smoke and flame surrounding the train.
“We do condemn the [North Korean] missile launches,” said Edward Price, a spokesman for the U.S. Department of State. “The missile launches violate multiple resolutions of the U.N. Security Council and pose a threat to neighbors and other members of the international community.” However, Price mentioned that the U.S. is still seeking a diplomatic solution through conversation by adding that the country is seeking to reduce North Korea’s threat through diplomacy.”
“A basic level of respect and manners should be kept, at minimum, under any circumstances, the Ministry of Unification said regarding Deputy Department Director of the Workers' Party of Korea Kim Yo Jong’s criticism of South Korean President Moon Jae-in.
“Kim shared her opinions on multiple occasions but this was the first time she mentioned the president by his name,” said an official of the South Korean Unification Ministry. “North Korea’s mentioning and direct criticism of the South Korean president does not help peace on the Korean Peninsula nor the development of inter-Korean relationships.” Regarding the intention of Kim’s statement, the ministry said it won’t make a hasty judgment at the moment but will be prepared for any possibility.