by WorldTribune Staff, November 30, 2017
North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un “meticulously guided” the test launch of a new model intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) on Nov. 29, North Korean state media reported.
“The test-fire of the inter-continental ballistic rocket Hwasong-15 was successfully conducted on Nov. 29 under the guidance of Kim Jong-Un,” according to the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). “Kim Jong-Un personally supervised the whole course of the test-fire.”
KCNA said Kim Jong-Un directed the ICBM to fly at a high angle such that it fell into the Sea of Japan.
Japanese observers, according to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, tracked the missile as it reached a 4,000-kilometer (2,485 miles) peak height before flying down and crashing into the Sea of Japan.
Japan’s Kyodo News cited analysts who asserted that, if launched at a lower angle, the Hwasong-15 could reach almost all of the U.S. mainland.
New images show the launch of a large, two-stage ICBM with what analysts say is new engine technology, suggesting North Korea has made rapid progress on its missile development.
“The ICBM has a new engine, but it may be something we have seen before,” said Scott LaFoy, a missile and satellite imagery analyst.
“It doesn’t use verniers (for steering) like the Hwasong-12 and -14, but it does appear to have two nozzles, similar to what we saw when Kim Jong-Un toured a factory full of KN-08s.”
The images also show the Hwasong-15 being transported to the launch site using a truck similar to those North Korea has used to transport its larger missiles in the past.
“The truck looks like they just extended the WS51200, that’s the same as the Hwasong-14’s one, the Chinese ‘lumber truck,’ ” LaFoy said. “They have been modified to include a 9th axle, what KCNA calls a ‘9-axis self-propelled launching vehicle.’ ”
If the truck used to carry the new ICBM is Chinese-made, it would contrast with recent claims from North Korean state media saying the new trucks were manufactured domestically.
KCNA gave Kim Jong-Un full credit for the “impeccable” missile launch.
“He indicated the orientation of developing a new type rocket that can make the final victory of the country in the showdown with the U.S. imperialists and gave detailed instructions every day to the Academy of Defense Science for doing so and thus made sure that the Hwasong-15 weapon system was successfully completed,” KCNA said.
Kim reportedly “expressed great satisfaction over the fact that such vehicles can be manufactured as many as the country wants now that the munitions industry has made a breakthrough in putting the production of all parts of the vehicle on a domestic and Juche basis 100 percent.”
“Juche,” which roughly translates to “self-reliance,” is the state philosophy of North Korea, founded by Kim Jong-Un’s grandfather Kim Il-Sung and urges North Koreans not to depend on the international community.
In reality, North Korea’s economy depends almost entirely upon China, given its lack of production in most industries and chronic food and medical shortages.