Hyunhee Shin and Josh Smith
SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korea military said that North Korea’s largest missile test still used an older, smaller ICBM rather than a massive new ICBM Hwaseong-17, in part to try head off negative domestic reaction failed launch.
South Korean and US officials have concluded that the March 24 launch appears to have been from the Hwaseong-15 ICBM. official said, saying on condition of anonymity because of in sensitivity of cause.
Washington has not weighed publicly yet in, with This was stated to reporters by Pentagon spokesman John Kirby. on tuesday that test was still under analysis.
Fist of North Korea test- fired from “Hwaseong-15” in November 2017, before the moratorium on Completed ICBM tests with last start of the week.
Open source analysts note inconsistencies in video and photos issued by the North Korean state media after that launch, saying shadows, weather, and other factors suggested it was from an earlier test, perhaps failed launch on March 16th.
“Choice of Hwaseong-15, which more reliable with successful test in 2017, may be intended to block rumors and ensure mode stability by message delivery of success as soon as possible after residents of Pyongyang witnessed failure of start on March 16, ”the Ministry of Defense said in a statement. in report provided parliament and received by Reuters.
That test could be additionally aimed at raising its status as military powerhouse and improved negotiation power against South Korea, USA and international communityconcluded the report.
US and South Korean officials said the tests on February 27 and March 5 participated Hwasong-17 system, most likely in preparation for but full-range launch. North Korea never acknowledged either the March 16 launch or its announcement. failure.
Rubbish from that failed test rain down over Pyongyang, Ha Tae Keung, South Korean MP, informed military told reporters on Tuesday.
This failure prompted North Korea to say “big lie” and say that the launch of Hwasong-15 on March 24 was the launch of Hwasong-17 for avoid negative internal public opinion, Ha said.
On Thursday, the rocket flew for 67.5 minutes before range of 1090 km (681 miles) and maximum height of 6,248.5 km (3,905 mi) state media reported. These figures are similar to those reported by Japan and South Korea and are larger and longer than first Hwaseong-15 test who flew for 53 minutes to altitude of about 4475 km and range of 950 km.
Thursday’s rocket characteristics such as climb acceleration, combustion, and stage separation. times were like those of Hwaseong-15 even thought that the flight had gone further and reached higher height, the report says.
South Korean officials have speculated that North Korea may have modified the Hwaseong-15 or launched it without significant repercussions. test payload to increase range.
Analysts believe that the March 16 explosion could have been caused on problem in engines. The ministry report notes that the Hwasong-17 requires more complex cluster of four Paekdu-class engines compared with Hwasong-15 has two, and eight days between launches was not enough to analyze cause of in failure.
“If March 16th was Hwaseong-17 failure and March 24 was Hwaseong-15, it’s obvious shows Hwasong-17 is still teething problems” Vann Van Diepen said. former US government official involved in weapon of mass destruction and non-proliferation.
BUT second successful test of Hwasong-15 would confirm its reliability, but if it improved performance was only because of reduced payload, the value will be limited, he said.
(Reporting by Hyunhee Shin and Josh Smith. Edited by Jerry Doyle)