Kim Jong-un celebrates the launch of a hypersonic missile, and Biden is ready to ‘intercept’ it.
According to state media agency KCNA, North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un has praised the successful launch of the country’s first hypersonic missile, thereby joining an elite club of world military forces.
According to South Korean military sources, the missile was launched into the sea off the country’s east coast. The launch comes after Pyongyang fired a barrage of missiles in recent weeks, in violation of UN Security Council rules prohibiting North Korea from testing and shooting such weapons.
Unlike ballistic missiles, which leave the atmosphere and then return at a sharp angle to their objective, hypersonic missiles approach their targets at low altitudes, traveling at more than 5 times the speed of sound, or around 6,200 kilometers per hour (3,853mph).
Until recently, only the United States, China, and Russia have claimed to have worked on such technology.
Despite the fact that the technology is in in its infancy, Seoul and Washington DC have been put on high alert after North Korea acknowledged that the launch aimed to ‘test navigational control and stability.’
North Korea already has a missile arsenal capable of targeting US locations in the Pacific Ocean, as well as the Hwasong-15 intercontinental ballistic missile, which is reported to be capable of hitting any target on the US mainland.
“Certainly, it’s a pretty strong weapon, and North Koreans are quite delighted to have delivered their first successful test,” Leonid Petrov, a senior lecturer at the International College of Management in Sydney, told Al-Jazeera.
Some, though, doubt Pyongyang’s aptitude and technological understanding to further the program.
Because of their speed and variable trajectories, the missiles, according to Leif-Eric Easley, an associate professor of international studies at Ewha Woman’s University in Seoul, are difficult to detect.
“It’s improbable that North Korea has developed all of the technologies it claims in its propaganda.”
“However, if Pyongyang could fit a nuclear warhead on even a crude hypersonic, it would be a frightening weapon because it wouldn’t need to be highly accurate to threaten Seoul.”
Some see the launch as a spark for such negotiations, with Kim Yo-Jong, the North Korean leader’s hardline sister, stating that Pyongyang may be open to diplomatic talks with the US, and Washington willing to reciprocate.
Professor Lim Eul-Chul at the Institute. “Brinkwire News Summary.”