Six North Korean nationals, who have recently been included in the Biden administration’s independent sanctions list, are reportedly related to the development of North Korea’s hypersonic missiles. They are known to have procured goods for hypersonic missile development. North Korea said it successfully tested hypersonic missiles after launching them consecutively from Jagang Province on Jan. 5 and Jan. 11, respectively.
Earlier on Jan. 12 (local time), the Biden administration included six North Korean nationals such as Choi Myong Hyon and Oh Yong Ho, who are based in Russia, as well as Shim Kwang Sok, Kim Song Hoon, Kang Chong Hak, and Byeon Kwang Chol, who are active in China, to its Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List (SDN). They are known to have procured steel alloys, Kevlar (high-strength fiber) wire and aramid fiber for the missile programs from China and Russia.
According to a military source on Tuesday, the goods procured by the six North Koreans, who are officials at an organization affiliated with North Korea’s State Academy of Defense Sciences, have been used to develop warheads for hypersonic missiles. After a ballistic missile is launched, the hypersonic glide vehicle (HGV) separated from the propellant flies at more than five times the speed of sound (Mach 5) when descending from the atmosphere. During the process, the temperature of the warhead rises close to 3,000 degrees Celsius, resulting in a need for core heat-resistant parts. The six North Korean nationals are in charge of procuring those components from abroad.
Hypersonic missiles are capable of irregular maneuvers at more than five times the speed of sound. North Korea is expected to make further efforts to improve its missile technology by actively importing related equipment from China and Russia.
Kyu-Jin Shin firstname.lastname@example.org