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North Korea to conduct more launches to renew missile armament, says expert

On March 25, North Korea launched two short-range ballistic missiles for the first time after almost a year

SEOUL, April 1. /TASS/. North Korea will most likely carry out more missile tests to replace old weapons by more advanced missiles dubbed as KN-23 by Western specialists and technologically similar to Russian-made Iskander missiles, researcher at the South Korean Institute for Defense Analyses Lee Sang-min said on Thursday.

"Russia developed the solid-fuel Iskander missile to replace liquid-type Scud [R-17] missiles. North Korea is also taking similar steps," the news agency Yonhap quoted the expert as saying.

"North Korea claimed that the missile fired last week has a range of 600 kilometers. To be a substitute for Scud missiles, this weapon needs to have a longer flight range. So the North is likely to continue upgrading this missile and carry out more test launches, I believe," he said.

According to experts, solid-propellant missiles are easy to handle and have advantages in surprise launches, which makes them more difficult to detect, the news agency reported.

On March 25, North Korea launched two short-range ballistic missiles towards the Sea of Japan for the first time after almost a year. The Japanese authorities said that Pyongyang had launched a new type of missiles that had not been tested in North Korea before. According to Tokyo’s data, these missiles were unveiled during a military parade in Pyongyang on the occasion of a congress of the Workers’ Party of Korea in January.

North Korea confirmed on March 26 it had test-launched two new tactical missiles. The statement published in North Korea’s central newspaper Rodong Sinmun said that the new missiles capable of carrying a charge weighing up to 2.5 tonnes had flown about 600 km. These missiles fly along a low and changing flight path, the Korean Central News Agency reported.