State media reported on Wednesday that Kim Jong-un personally oversaw the successful test of a hypersonic missile and urged North Korea to continue building “strategic military muscle” despite international sanctions over its nuclear weapons programme.
Kim was photographed using binoculars to observe the nuclear-armed nation’s second missile launch in less than a week, according to state media.
North Korea’s five-year plan lists hypersonic missiles as a “top priority” task for strategic weapons development. According to North Korea’s news agency KCNA, after the launch, Kim stated that the country must “further accelerate efforts to steadily build up the country’s strategic military muscle both in quality and quantity and further modernise the army.” The test, which occurred as the United Nations Security Council met in New York to discuss Pyongyang’s nuclear programme, drew swift condemnation, with the US State Department calling it a “threat… to the international community.”
It was the third known test of a hypersonic gliding missile by North Korea. The first occurred four months ago, and the second occurred just last week. According to KCNA, the most recent test demonstrated “the hypersonic glide vehicle’s superior manoeuvrability.”
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