N. Korea threatens to prove ability to launch ICBMs at normal angle

Posted on : 2022-12-21 17:00 KST Modified on : 2022-12-21 17:00 KST
Kim Yo-jong’s comments came in response to the South characterizing last week’s launch as that of MRBMs rather than satellite carriers
Kim Yo-jong, the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un who holds a high-up position in the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea, speaks at a meeting on North Korea’s COVID-19 response held on Aug. 10, 2022. (KCTV/Yonhap)
Kim Yo-jong, the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un who holds a high-up position in the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea, speaks at a meeting on North Korea’s COVID-19 response held on Aug. 10, 2022. (KCTV/Yonhap)

Kim Yo-jong disputed Seoul’s negative assessment of a reconnaissance satellite development test staged by the North on Sunday, while implying that future intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) test launches may be conducted at a “real angle” rather than a high one.

In a statement published by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), the Workers’ Party of Korea Central Committee vice department director said that “the issue of developing military satellite is an urgent priority task directly related to the security of the DPRK.”

“[O]ur people will never step back from the development of reconnaissance satellite,” she also said.

Responding to South Korean experts’ assessment of the North’s reconnaissance satellite as “inferior,” Kim said, “It seems to be an endemic disease in south Korea that all those always doubt about and slander everything done by us.”

“I think that they would be well advised to halt their nonsense and think twice,” she added.

Kim’s statement was unusually long — running to nearly 1,900 words in its English translation — and included numerous examples of crude language.

The leader’s sister blasted the South Korean Ministry of National Defense for its report that the projectile launched by the North on Sunday was a medium-range ballistic missile (MRBM) rather than a “satellite carrier.”

“If we were to develop an ICBM, we test-fire it undisguised, not as a ‘satellite carrier’ spread by the south Korean puppets to the public,” she insisted.

She also appeared to suggest that the launch was conducted at a normal angle in order to demonstrate that the North had acquired atmospheric reentry technology, which is a key element in ICBMs.

“For several years, the puppet military gangsters and puppet experts have said that our ICBM's atmospheric re-entry has not been recognized and verified, just to comfort themselves,” she said.

“[W]e could not receive remote data of the control warhead until it hit a target if the technology for atmospheric re-entry was imperfect,” she explained.

She continued, “It is clear that they will claim that the successful test of our ICBM can not be proved through high-angle launch but with real angle and that they will impair our strategic weaponry capability with such argument.”

“They will immediately recognize it in case we launch an ICBM in the way of real angle firing straight off,” she warned.

In its past test launches, North Korea has fired its ICBMs at vertically oriented angles. Kim’s latest message read as signaling that it plans to conduct launches at normal 30- to 45-degree angles before long.

The same day, a statement by a North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesperson took aim at Japan’s adoption of its new National Security Strategy on Friday indicating its plans to acquire “enemy base strike capabilities” that could potentially be used against the North.

Characterizing this as “Japan's formulation of its new aggression line,” the statement warned that Pyongyang would “continue to show [its displeasure] in practice.”

Meanwhile, South Korea and the US held joint air drills the same day. The drills were conducted in the Korea air defense identification zone (KADIZ) southwest of Jeju Island and included the US B-52H strategic bomber — which is capable of carrying out a nuclear strike — along with US F-22 and South Korean F-35A and F-15K fighter aircraft.

For the first time in the four-and-a-half years since May 2018, US F-22 fighter planes were deployed in South Korea at Kunsan Air Base in North Jeolla Province. Starting last month, they had been provisionally positioned at Kadena Air Base in Japan’s Okinawa Prefecture.

While the drills had been planned before North Korea’s MRBM launch on Sunday and Kim Yo-jong’s statement on Tuesday, they also sent a message of pressure against the recently growing North Korean nuclear and missile threats.

The South’s Defense Ministry explained, “The deployment of US B-52H and F-22 aircraft is part of a strengthening of US extended deterrence implementation capabilities based on the agreement between the South Korean and US defense ministers last November to ‘[employ] U.S. strategic assets to the level equivalent to constant deployment through increasing the frequency and intensity of strategic asset deployment in and around the Korean Peninsula.’”

By Lee Je-hun, senior staff writer; Jung In-hwan, staff reporter; Kwon Hyuk-chul, staff reporter

Please direct questions or comments to [english@hani.co.kr]

button that move to original korean article (클릭시 원문으로 이동하는 버튼)

Related stories

Most viewed articles