SeoulNorth Korea The Seoul military said on Wednesday, adding that it was in fact the same intercontinental ballistic missile that Pyongyang launched in 2017. North Korea last Friday claimed to have successfully conducted test firings The Hwasong-17 missile is a long-range ICBM that analysts say could be capable of carrying several warheads, which it first unveiled at a military parade in 2020.

But South Korea’s defense ministry told AFP that Seoul and Washington have now concluded that the Hwasong-15 ICBM, which Pyongyang conducted a test run in 2017, has actually launched.

“US and South Korean intelligence has determined that what was released on March 24 was Hwasong-15,” a Defense Department spokesman told AFP. Both ICBMs are potentially capable of hitting the mainland of the United States.

At the time, Seoul and Tokyo separately confirmed that the March 24 missile flew higher and longer than any previous test, but later analysts pointed to discrepancies in North Korea’s calculations.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un reacts next to military officials during state media reports, rocket launch
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un reacted alongside military officials during the launch of the Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM), according to state media reports, Hwasun-17, in an undated photo published on March 25, 2022 by North Korea’s Central News Center. Agency (KCNA). The South Korean military said it had actually launched the Hwasong-15 missile, North Korea’s last test launch in 2017.

KCNA / Reuters

The false report was probably Pyongyang’s attempt to compensate for the failed March 16 launch, when the missile, which analysts say was actually a Hwasong-17, exploded shortly after launch. According to the Seoul-based website NK News, the wreckage of the failed test fell in Pyongyang or near it in the form of red with a hint of club smoke zigzagged across the sky.

“Pyongyang residents must have been ‘shocked’ by the failed launch, and it may have affected public opinion about the Kim regime, lawmaker Ha Tae-keen of the Conservative Opposition People’s Power Party (PPP) told reporters.

North Korean state media – Rodong Sinmun and KCNA news agency – did not report a failed launch at the time.

They usually carry reports of successful weapons tests within 24 hours of launch, often with photographs.

But the March 24 was reported by state media, and KCTV published a brilliant video that allegedly showed that the giant rocket was successfully launched by a test shot.

Analysts drew attention to discrepancies in the staff, which may indicate a forgery of part of the March 24 launch.

The isolated country’s economy is faltering from UN sanctions over leader Kim Jong Un’s weapons programs and Covid’s two-year independent blockade.

“The Kim regime is not only gaining pride and legitimacy in its nuclear and missile programs, but is also showing a build-up of military force against external threats as a moral justification for domestic economic suffering,” Leif-Eric Isley, a professor at Echo University in Seoul, told AFP. .

The “successful” launch, as shown in state-controlled media, has significant “propaganda value” for the Kim regime, he added.

Analysts warn that North Korea is likely to launch a military reconnaissance satellite and conduct tactical tests of a nuclear warhead later this year.

On Monday, Pyongyang’s state media reported that its leader, Kim Jong Un, had promised to increase “overwhelming” and relentless military power.

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