— KoreaJoongAngDaily (@JoongAngDaily) May 22, 2017
As I expected Kim Jong-un seems pretty pleased with the recent successful ballistic missile launch:
North Korea said on Monday it has successfully tested an intermediate-range ballistic missile to confirm the reliability of the late-stage guidance of the nuclear warhead, indicating further advances in the ability to hit U.S. targets.
The North’s KCNA news agency said leader Kim Jong Un supervised the test which also verified the functioning of the solid-fuel engine for the Pukguksong-2 missile and ordered it for deployment in field action.
North Korea has defied all calls to rein in its nuclear and missile programs, even from China, its lone major ally, saying the weapons are needed for legitimate self-defense. The North last conducted a ballistic missile test a week ago.
“Saying with pride that the missile’s rate of hits is very accurate and Pukguksong-2 is a successful strategic weapon, he approved the deployment of this weapon system for action,” KCNA said, quoting leader Kim Jong Un.
The launch verified the reliability and accuracy of the solid-fuel engine’s operation and stage separation and the late-stage guidance of the nuclear warhead which was recorded by a device mounted on the warhead, KCNA said.
“Viewing the images of the Earth being sent real-time from the camera mounted on the ballistic missile, Supreme leader Kim Jong Un said it feels grand to look at the Earth from the rocket we launched and the entire world looks so beautiful,” KCNA said.
The missile flew about 500 kilometers (310.69 miles), reaching an altitude of 560 km, and landed in waters off the North’s east coast, South Korea’s military said on Sunday. [Yahoo News]
You can read more at the link.
It looks like the North Koreans may have pulled off another successful missile test pending further analysis:
North Korea fired a ballistic missile that flew about 500 kilometers, Sunday, according to the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS).
This marked the North’s second missile provocation since President Moon Jae-in was sworn in May 10. The first was launched May 14.
President Moon immediately ordered the new chief of the National Security Office, Chung Eui-yong, to preside over a meeting of the Standing Committee of the National Security Council (NSC) at Cheong Wa Dae. Chung was appointed to the post earlier in the day.
“North Korea fired an unidentified ballistic missile in the eastern direction at around 4:59 p.m. from the vicinity of Pukchang in South Pyongan Province,” the JCS said in a release. “Flight distance is about 500 kilometers.”
The JCS noted the characteristics of the missile were presumed to be similar to the “Pukguksong-2” intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) fired in February. At the time, the North’s state media said its IRBM used a high-thrust solid fuel-powered engine, marking the first time it tested a solid-fueled, surface-to-surface missile that has more than a medium range. [Korea Times]
You can read more at the link.
Like I said before I did not think Putin would care much about the North Korean missile test:
Russian President Vladimir Putin has condemned North Korea’s latest missile launch as “dangerous” but warned against “intimidating” Pyongyang.
Speaking in China, Putin called for a peaceful solution to the ongoing tensions on the Korean peninsula, Russia’s Sputnik news agency reported.“I would like to confirm that we are categorically against the expansion of the club of nuclear states, including through the Korean Peninsula,” Putin told reporters. “We are against it and consider it counterproductive, damaging, dangerous,” he said.But in comments that appeared aimed at the US, he said that “intimidating (North Korea) is unacceptable.” [CNN]
From what we have learned so far from this weekend’s missile test the North Koreans do appear to have made a significant technological leap with their missile technology:
North Korea’s successful missile test-launch signals major advances in developing an intercontinental ballistic missile, such as mastery of re-entry technology and better engine performance key to targeting the United States, experts say.
The isolated country has been developing a long-range missile capable of striking the mainland United States mounted with a nuclear warhead. That would require a flight of 8,000 km (4,800 miles) or more and technology to ensure a warhead’s stable re-entry into the atmosphere.
The North’s official KCNA news agency said the new strategic ballistic missile named Hwasong-12, fired on Sunday at the highest angle to avoid affecting neighboring countries’ security, flew 787 km (489 miles) on a trajectory reaching an altitude of 2,111.5 km (1,312 miles).
The details reported by KCNA were largely consistent with South Korean and Japanese assessments that it flew further and higher than an intermediate-range missile (IRBM) tested in February from the same region, northwest of Pyongyang.
Such an altitude meant it was launched at a high trajectory, which would limit the lateral distance traveled. But if it was fired at a standard trajectory, it would have a range of at least 4,000 km (2,500 miles), experts said.
The test “represents a level of performance never before seen from a North Korean missile”, John Schilling, an aerospace expert, said in an analysis on the U.S.-based 38 North website.
“It appears to have not only demonstrated an intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) that might enable them to reliably strike the U.S. base at Guam, but more importantly, may represent a substantial advance to developing an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).”
KCNA said the test launch verified the homing feature of the warhead that allowed it to survive “under the worst re-entry situation” and accurately detonate.
The claim, if true, could mark an advancement in the North’s ICBM program exceeding most expectations, said Kim Dong-yub, a professor at Kyungnam University’s Institute of Far Eastern Studies in Seoul.
Kim, a former South Korean navy officer, added the trajectory showed the North was clearly testing the re-entry technology under flight environments consistent for a ICBM.
The North has successfully launched long-range rockets twice to put objects into space. But many had believed it was some years away from mastering re-entry expertise for perfecting an ICBM, which uses similar engineering in early flight stages.
Sunday’s missile launch also tested the North’s capability to carry a “large-size heavy nuclear warhead”, the state news agency said. (……………………….)
KCNA said Kim accused the United States of “browbeating” countries that “have no nukes”, warning Washington not to misjudge the reality that its mainland was in the North’s “sighting range for strike”. [Reuters]
You can read more at the link.
The Kim regime has welcomed the new ROK president the way they typically do by conducting a provocation:
North Korea launched a ballistic missile Sunday morning from a site north of Pyongyang, South Korea’s military said, as President Moon Jae-in immediately convened an emergency meeting of the National Security Council (NSC) to discuss the issue.
“North Korea fired an unidentified missile at around 5:27 a.m. today from an area in the vicinity of Kusong, North Pyongan Province,” the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said in a statement
The projectile flew some 700 kilometers, it said, adding it’s analyzing more details.
The flight distance suggests a success of the missile test, the North’s first military provocation since the inauguration of Moon last week. [Yonhap]
The type of ballistic missile has not been disclosed yet, but PACOM has already said that it was not an ICBM. However, the Japanese are calling this the highest fired missile they have seen yet from North Korea:
Japan’s Defense Ministry said the missile flew for about 30 minutes, reaching an altitude of more than 2,000 kilometers and was believed to have traveled some 800 kilometers before falling about 400 kilometers outside of Japan’s exclusive economic zone, according to the Japan Times.
Japanese Defense Minister Tomomi Inada was quoted as saying that the launch, which was likely conducted at a steep or “lofted” trajectory, could be of a “new type of ballistic missile.” It hit the highest-ever altitude recorded by Japan’s defense authority for a North Korean missile. [Joong Ang Ilbo]
At least one scientist thinks this is a new type of missile that has been tested:
“I don’t believe the missile test Sunday involved existing models, such Pukguksong-2 or Scud-ER, considering its flight distance was about 700 kilometers,” said Kim Dong-yup, a professor at the Institute for Far East Studies of Kyungnam University. “The test appears to be aimed at developing a new type of missile with an improved performance.”
David Wright, co-director of the Global Security Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists, told the Associated Press that Sunday’s launch may have been of a new mobile, two-stage liquid-fueled missile that North Korea displayed during an April 15 military parade to mark that 105th anniversary of the birth of its founder Kim Il-sung
Wright estimated that the missile had a range of 4,500 kilometers if it travelled on a standard, instead of lofted, trajectory. [Korea Times]
If the range of this missile is 4,500 kilometers that means it is not designed to strike South Korea or Japan which it already has SCUD and Nodong missiles to hit these two countries with. Instead the only reason to develop a missile with this range would be to strike Guam which would be within its 4,500 kilometer maximum range since it is roughly 3,300 kilometers from North Korea:
This test may be a response to the fact that the USS Carl Vinson carrier strike group is supposed to be in the Sea of Japan (East Sea) conducting exercises.
In response to the provocation the Chinese are urging all parties to show the typical “restraint” they always seem to put out after a North Korean provocation. The United States is trying to play the Russians against the North Koreans after this test since the missile landed close to Russia:
Fox News reported that the White House said North Korea has been a “flagrant menace for far too long” and that Trump “cannot imagine that Russia is pleased” with the latest missile test because the missile landed closer to Russia than to Japan. U.S. National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster also condemned the launch in a 25-minute phone call with his South Korean counterpart Kim Kwan-jin and agreed to combine forces towards denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula. [Joong Ang Ilbo]
I doubt Putin really cares, and then in South Korea new President Moon Jae-in wants North Korea to change its attitude if it wants negotiations:
During his first NSC meeting at Cheong Wa Dae, President Moon strongly condemned the launch, saying, “It was an apparent violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions and also a serious challenge to peace and security on the Korean Peninsula as well as the international community.”
Moon said he found North Korea’s provocation regretful, citing that it came despite his speech to make full-pledged efforts to bring peace to the peninsula during his May 10 inauguration ceremony.
“I’m strongly warning North Korea, and at the same time, I find its reckless provocation deeply regretful.”
The president said he is open to resuming dialogue with North Korea, but added his government would deal sternly with the North’s provocations to ensure that the reclusive state does “not make a misjudgment.”
“We must show the North that dialogue will be possible only when it changes its attitude,” he said. [Korea Times]
Good luck with that since people have been waiting decades for North Korea to change its attitude. As this test proves, a new ROK President promising Sunshine Policy 2.0 is not going to change the nature of the Kim regime.
Maybe there is something to the claims that the US is launching a cyber and electronic warfare campaign against North Korean missiles because they sure are having a lot of failures over the past year:
North Korea launched a ballistic missile on Saturday, which apparently exploded minutes after liftoff, according to South Korean and U.S. militaries.
“North Korea fired an unidentified missile from a site in the vicinity of Pukchang in Pyeongannam-do (South Pyeongan Province) in the northeastern direction at around 5:30 a.m today,” the Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement. “It is estimated to have failed.”
The U.S. Pacific Command also said it detected the launch from an airfield there.
“The missile did not leave North Korean territory,” its spokesman Cmdr. Dave Benham said. “The North American Aerospace Defense Command determined the missile launch from North Korea did not pose a threat to North America.” [Joong Ang Ilbo]
Considering the subdued reaction from the US military and government I think it is safe to say this was not an ICBM test which President Trump has voiced before would be a red line with North Korea. Here is what President Trump had to say in response to the failed launch:
North Korea disrespected the wishes of China & its highly respected President when it launched, though unsuccessfully, a missile today. Bad!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 28, 2017
Trump is definitely conducting the charm offensive with Chinese President Xi considering all the positive comments he has made about him and even rebuffed a phone call from the Taiwanese President this week.
Did media really think President Trump would confirm or deny if the military launched an electronic warfare attack against North Korea?:
President Trump is refusing to say whether the U.S. sabotaged North Korea’s launch of ballistic missile that blew up shortly after liftoff Sunday morning.
“I don’t want to comment on it,” Trump told “Fox & Friends” co-host Ainsley Earhardt at Monday’s White House Easter Egg Roll.
Last month, the New York Times reported that during President Barack Obama’s last three years in office, he quietly ordered a surge in strikes against the missile launches — including the use of “electronic warfare” techniques to combat them. It’s unclear whether such a counterattack was used to sabotage Sunday’s launch.
“The approach taken in targeting the North Korean missiles has distinct echoes of the American- and Israeli-led sabotage of Iran’s nuclear program, the most sophisticated known use of a cyberweapon meant to cripple a nuclear threat,” the Times’ David Sanger and William Broad wrote in early March.
During his “Fox & Friends” interview, Trump would also not comment on what the U.S. response would be if North Korea attempted to launch another missile.
“We’ll find out,” the president said. [Yahoo News]