North Korea claims successful tests of new missile engines
North Korea said Wednesday that military scientists successfully tested new solid-fuel engines designed for use on intermediate-range ballistic missiles. State media reported that those tests took place on Saturday, Nov. 11, and Tuesday, Nov. 14. It is unknown when the new missile system will be completed.
Why does this matter? North Korea has been expanding its weapons cache. Analysts believe it’s likely that North Korea’s current mid-range missiles could potentially reach as far as Guam or Japan. The country’s liquid-fuel missile arsenal can’t contain fuel for long periods, so the missiles require fueling before launch. Alternatively, missiles with built-in, solid-fuel engines could be deployed faster and be easier to conceal. This would make it more difficult for targeted nations to predict and evade missile attacks. A 2021 Department of Intelligence Report says Pyongyang retains a nuclear stockpile.
Dig deeper: Read Rebeccah L. Heinrichs’ column in WORLD Opinions about North Korea’s “dangerous saber-rattling.”
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