Hypersonic weapons are designed to travel in the upper atmosphere at speeds of more than five times the speed of sound, or about 6,200 kilometres (3,853 miles) per hour
Image: via REUTERS)
North Korea has launched a state-of-the-art hypersonic missile, state media has claimed.
On Tuesday the country’s military fired the weapon off its east coast towards the sea, South Korea’s military said.
KCNA, North Korea’s state media, later announced that the missile was hypersonic.
Hypersonic weapons travel in the upper atmosphere at speeds of more than five times the speed of sound, or about 6,200 kilometres (3,853 miles) per hour.
The latest test underscored the steady development of North Korea’s weapons systems, raising the stakes for stalled talks aimed at dismantling its nuclear and ballistic missile arsenals in return for US sanctions relief.
Pyongyang has called on the United States and South Korea to scrap their “double standards” on weapons programs to restart diplomatic talks.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un did not inspect the launch, according to the report.
On Monday United States announced it had tested an air-breathing hypersonic weapon.
In doing so it marked the first successful test of the class of weapon since 2013, the Pentagon said.
Certain countries are pumping money into hypersonic weapons because of their ability to rob adversaries of reaction time and traditional ways of blocking them.
In July, Russia said it had successfully tested a Tsirkon(Zircon) hypersonic cruise missile, a weapon President Vladimir Putin has touted as part of a new generation of missile systems without equal in the world..
Today North Korea said its missile, called Hwasong-8, performed to its technical specifications “including the guiding manoeuvrability and the gliding flight characteristics of the detached hypersonic gliding warhead.”
North Korea and South Korea both test fired ballistic missiles on September 15, the latest volley in an arms race in which both nations have developed increasingly sophisticated weapons while efforts prove fruitless to get talks going on defusing tensions.
Britain said it condemned the firing of a ballistic missile by North Korea – before the country claimed the weapon was hypersonic – urging Pyongyang to return to talks with the United States and South Korea.
“The UK condemns North Korea’s decision to launch a short-range ballistic missile, in violation of UN Security Council Resolutions,” a spokesperson for Britain’s Foreign Office said in a statement.
“The UK remains committed to the goal of denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula and commends the diplomatic efforts of the US and regional partners to seek peace on the Korean Peninsula and preserve regional stability. We urge North Korea to return to dialogue.”