North Korea announced on Friday that it launched on Thursday the Hwasong-17, a new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). North Korean leader Kim Jong Un who attended the launch site implied a series of nuclear and missiles tests by saying that he would prepare a long-term contest against the U.S.’ imperialism. South Korean President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol warned that there is nothing to be gained with threats. U.S. President Joe Biden imposed additional sanctions against the North just one hour after the country made an announcement on its ICBM launch.
North Korea news agency Korean Central News Agency covered Hwasong-17 test launch and claimed that the weapon system fully met the design requirements. Kim visited the test site in Pyongyang Sunan Airport and delivered a handwritten order. “Shoot with bravery,” the order read, explicitly expressing the determination to confront South Korea and the U.S. with force.
North Korea claimed that the Hwasong-17 rose up to 6,248.5 kilometers and flew 1,090 kilometers for 4,052 seconds, or about 68 minutes. The performance of the Hwasong-17 revealed by the North has been improved compared to the Hwasong-15 in terms of the range and thrust. With the improved engine thrust, the missile can theoretically launch multiple warheads weighing close to two tons over 15,000 kilometers, which is much longer than the distance between Pyongyang and the U.S. mainland. It is expected that North Korea may conduct additional tests to launch an ICBM at a normal angle of 30 to 45 degrees and make it fall into the Pacific Ocean to test a multiple independently targetable reentry vehicle (MIRV), which can simultaneously target major cities in the U.S.
“I sternly warn North Korea. There is nothing to be gained with provocations,” said President-elect Yoon. However, a member of the presidential transition committee said that issues with North Korea are complex and cannot be resolved solely by a firm stance, implying an intention to pay careful attention to risk management regarding the North before a new government is launched.
U.S. President Biden said he strongly condemns North Korea’s long-range ballistic missile launch during a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida at the G7 summit. The U.S. State Department added on Friday the foreign affairs bureau of North Korea’s Academy of National Defense Science, which is considered to be at the center of the country’s ballistic missile development, and Ri Song Chol, as well as two Russian companies and one Russian national who helped North Korea’s missile development, on the list subject to sanctions.
Jin-Woo Shin firstname.lastname@example.org