North Korea fired two missiles it claims are “new-type tactical guided weapons.” The test comes a day before the US and South Korea kick off joint war games.
Bloomberg reported a message from the South Korean military claiming the two missiles traveled about 60 miles. Joseph Dempsey, a research associate at International Institute for Strategic Studies, said, “the ‘new tactical guided weapon’ outwardly resembles their KN-23 and KN-23 [short-range ballistic missile]. The use of a wheeled quad launcher indicates a smaller, lighter and likely shorter-range missile.”
North Korean media KCNA said, “the new-type tactical guided weapon system is of great significance in drastically improving the firepower of the frontline long-range artillery units and enhancing the efficiency in the operation of tactical nukes of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and diversification of their firepower missions.”
The missile test came days after the 110th birthday of North Korean founder Kim Il Sung. A US official speculated Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un could order a nuclear weapon test to commemorate the anniversary. However, the festivities did not even include a military parade.
America and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea have recently engaged in a series of military provocations. North Korea has carried out 13 weapons tests this year. Last week, the US moved the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier strike group near the Korean coast.
The North Korean missile tests came a day before the US and South Korea began their annual springtime war games. In a separate message on Sunday, Seoul announced the nine-day military exercises will be limited to simulations because of covid and other factors. Pyongyang views the drills as aggressive plans to overthrow the government.