Seoul, South Korea
North Korea The sister of leader Kim Jong Un said Tuesday in state media that it was ready to test-fire an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) in a normal orbit, a flight pattern that could demonstrate This weapon could threaten the continental United States.
In a statement released by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), Kim Yo Jong – the top official in her brother’s regime – also dismissed experts’ skepticism around technological progress. North Korean ICBMs, especially in terms of re-entry capabilities.
ICBMs are fired into space, where they accelerate outside the atmosphere before their payload – the nuclear warhead – undergoes a violent re-entry, much like a space shuttle or space capsule, before when hitting the target.
If this process is not done with absolute precision and with materials that can withstand the enormous amount of heat generated, the warhead will ignite before reaching its target. The angle at which the warhead re-enters the atmosphere can make the process more difficult.
So far, North Korea has fired ballistic missiles that fly hundreds of miles into space then rent the atmosphere at steep angles, most of which fall into the sea between North Korea and Japan.
To successfully target the US mainland, a North Korean missile would have to have a much shallower flight path and shallower angle of return.
“For several years, so-called experts have been saying that our ICBM’s reentry into the atmosphere has not been recognized or verified,” Kim Yo Jong said.
“It seems clear that they will try to downplay our strategic weapons capabilities with such logic that it is impossible to prove it with a single tilt launch, and that that can only be known. by shooting at a normal angle…I’ll give an explanation. Easy answer for that. We can try it soon and once you see it, you’ll know.”
In November, North Korea announced it had launched a “new type” ICBM, the Hwasong-17 – a missile that could theoretically reach the US mainland.
That’s one of 35 North Korean missile tests this year.
Western officials and experts are also expecting Pyongyang to test a nuclear warhead at any time. If that test happens, it will be the first since 2017.
On Sunday, North Korea launches two ballistic missiles which the South Korean military analyzes is a medium-range ballistic missile (MRBM).
The next day, KCNA said the country’s space agency had conducted “the final gate procedure of a spy satellite launch.”
Photos published in state newspaper Rodong Sinmun on Monday appear to show black and white aerial photographs of the South Korean capital Seoul and the nearby city of Incheon – the location of the region’s main airport. Nam – but many experts have questioned these photos. ‘ authenticity, especially due to their poor resolution.
In his statement on Tuesday, Kim Yo Jong defended North Korea’s recent report on a test of its satellite development and dismissed experts’ skepticism about the aerial photographs. have purpose.
“The skepticism of the so-called Korean experts towards the two pictures taken by the experimental color camera and their assessment of the state of my country’s satellite development and preparation,” she said. is inappropriate and frivolous.
She defended that the test was done properly and that the results were known to the public.
“Through the test, important technical indicators such as the camera operating technology, the communication equipment’s data processing and transmission capabilities, and the tracking and control accuracy of the ground control system were tested. has been confirmed under space environment conditions,” according to KCNA.
“Our people will stand firm in the development of a spy satellite decided by our Party, no matter the cost.”
Meanwhile, top US F-22 stealth fighters are in South Korea this week for joint exercises with South Korean forces, South Korea’s defense ministry said.
The two allies combined their air forces for drills at the Korea Air Defense Identification Zone near the southwest of Jeju Island, the ministry said Tuesday, noting the deployment of B-bombers. 52 US near the Korean Peninsula.
On the South Korean side, F-35 and F-15K fighters took part, according to a ministry statement.
It said US F-22s, currently stationed in Japan, will stay in South Korea this week and conduct training with a focus on enhancing their ability to respond to nuclear threats. and North Korean missiles.