North Korea launches 'missile' into sea

North Korea fires ‘missile’ into sea as it ramps up weapons tests amid tensions with South Korea and US – hours after China’s test of ‘hypersonic nuclear missile’ was revealed

  • North Korea has reportedly fired at least one missile into the sea during a weapons test on Tuesday
  • The launch came after tensions between the US and North Korea over the use of nuclear weapons
  • South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff are currently unsure on type of missile that was launched or how far it flew
  • The missile launch happened after it was recently revealed that China tested their own ‘nuclear-capable hypersonic missile’ in August 

North Korea has fired at least one unidentified ‘missile’ into waters off its east coast Tuesday following its continued streak of weapons tests.

The launch was reported by South Korean and Japanese military officials, despite the sanction over the country’s use of nuclear weapons.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said that they do not know the type of missile that was launched or how far it flew.

The launch also came hours after a report that their ally China had secretly tested a ‘nuclear-capable hypersonic missile’ back in August.

The North Korean launch took place at around 10.17am in Sinpo, an area which has been used to keep military equipment for test-firing submarine-launched ballistic missiles.

‘Our military is closely monitoring the situation and maintaining readiness posture in close cooperation with the United States, to prepare for possible additional launches,’ the Joint Chiefs of Staffs said in a statement.

North Korea has reportedly fired at least one unidentified ‘missile’ into its eastern waters on Tuesday during a weapons test. The Academy of Defence Science of the DPRK previously had a test fire of a ‘newly developed’ anti-aircraft missile on September 30, pictured 

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un speaks at an exhibition of weapons systems in Pyongyang on October 11

President Biden’s offers to discuss nuclear weapon tactics has been rejected due to his ‘hostile policy’ of sanctioning the North’s military exercises

South Korea’s presidential office was planning to hold a national security council meeting later in the day to discuss the launch.

Ending a months long lull in September, North Korea has been ramping up its weapons tests while making conditional peace offers to Seoul, reviving a pattern of pressuring South Korea to try to get what it wants from the United States.

Within days, President Joe Biden’s special envoy for North Korea, Sung Kim, is schedule to hold talks with U.S. allies in Seoul over the prospects of reviving talks with North Korea.

Nuclear negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang have stalled for more than two years over disagreements in exchanging the release of crippling U.S.-led sanctions against North Korea and the North’s denuclearization steps.

His government has so far rejected the Biden administration’s offers to restart dialogue without preconditions, saying that Washington must first abandon its ‘hostile policy,’ a term the North mainly uses to refer to sanctions and U.S.-South Korea military exercises.

U.S. Special Representative Sung Kim speaks to reporters outside of the State Department in Washington DC on October 18

South Korea’s Special Representative for Korean Peninsula Peace and Security Affairs Noh Kyu-duk speaks after meeting with US Special Representative Sung Kim

But while North Korea is apparently trying to use South Korea’s desire for inter-Korean engagement to extract concessions from Washington, analysts say Seoul has little wiggle room as the Biden administration is intent on keeping sanctions in place until the North makes concrete steps toward denuclearization.

‘The US continues to reach out to Pyongyang to restart dialogue,’ Sung Kim told reporters on Monday, referring to the North’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

‘Our intent remains the same. We harbor no hostile intent toward the DPRK and we are open to meeting without preconditions.’ 

‘Even as we remain open to dialogue, we also have a responsibility to implement the U.N. Security Council resolutions addressing the DPRK,’ he said.

Last week, Kim Jong Un reviewed powerful missiles designed to launch nuclear strikes on the U.S. mainland during a military exhibition and vowed to build an ‘invincible’ military to cope with what he called persistent U.S. hostility. 

Earlier, Kim dismissed U.S. offers for resuming talks without preconditions as ‘cunning’ attempt to conceal its hostile policy on the North.

The country has tested various weapons over the past month, including a new cruise missile that could potentially carry nuclear warheads, a rail-launched ballistic system, a developmental hypersonic missile and a new anti-aircraft missile.

But the North in recent weeks have also restored communication lines with the South and said it could take further steps to improve bilateral relations if Seoul abandons its ‘double-dealing attitude’ and ‘hostile viewpoint.’

A report from the Financial Times, which cited five unnamed intelligence sources, said the Chinese military launched the Long March rocket in August carrying a ‘hypersonic glide vehicle’ into low orbit. It circled the globe before descending towards its target, which it missed by about two dozen miles. The system would be able to overcome US anti-ballistic missile defence systems that are based in Alaska and set up to shoot down projectiles coming over the North Pole – the Chinese system would be able to strike the US from the south

China was also revealed to have tested a nuclear-capable hypersonic missile which orbited the globe before returning to Earth to strike its target in a technological development that would overcome US anti-ballistic missile systems.

A report from the Financial Times, which cited five unnamed intelligence sources, said the Chinese military launched the Long March rocket in August carrying a ‘hypersonic glide vehicle’ into low orbit.

It circled the globe before descending towards its target, which it missed by about two dozen miles.

A Chinese government spokesman refuted those claims Monday night, claiming that the missile was in fact an experimental rocket designed to offer a peaceful means of space exploration.  

The hypersonic missiles can reach speeds of up to 21,000mph and can strike anywhere on Earth from space within minutes.

The system would be able to overcome US anti-ballistic missile defense systems that are based in Alaska and set up to shoot down projectiles coming over the North Pole – the Chinese system would be able to strike the US from the south.

Weapons race: A comparison of the most advanced (columns from left) missiles, aircraft carriers, tanks and aircraft possessed by China, the US and Russia

The incident has left US intelligence officials stunned, sources say, as it shows ‘China has made astonishing progress on the development of its hypersonic weapons’.

‘We have no idea how they did this,’ a person familiar with the test told the FT.

China has since denied these reports with China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Zhao Lijian claiming it was ‘a spacecraft, not a missile.’

‘This test was a routine spacecraft experiment to verify the reusable technology of spacecraft, which is of great significance for reducing the cost of spacecraft use,’ Zhao said at a press briefing, according to CNN. 

‘It can provide a convenient and cheap way for humans to use space peacefully.

‘Many companies in the world have carried out similar experiments.’

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