North Korea Launches 2nd Hypersonic Missile in a Week

Pyongyang says it hit a target 621 miles away in the sea
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 12, 2022 12:00 AM CST
North Korea: We Launched Another Hypersonic Missile
This photo provided by the North Korean government shows what it says a test launch of a hypersonic missile on Jan. 11, 2022 in North Korea.   (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP)

For the second time in less than a week, North Korea says it has launched a hypersonic missile. After launching one last Wednesday, Pyongyang said it did so again Tuesday, the BBC reports. This one "precisely hit" a target 621 miles away, the country says. The US, South Korea, and Japan had said on Tuesday that they detected a ballistic missile launch, the AP reports. This is North Korea's third hypersonic missile launch; its first came in September. This type of missile will increase the country's nuclear "war deterrent," according to leader Kim Jong Un.

Kim himself was photographed watching the launch alongside his sister, Kim Yo Jong, and other officials; it's the first time he's been reported to have attended a launch since March 2020. He says the country must expand its "strategic military muscle both in quality and quantity and further modernize the army," and Pyongyang has implied in the past that the hypersonic missile system is being developed to deliver nuclear weapons. Hypersonic missiles hit speeds more than five times the speed of sound, and are difficult to defend against due to their speed and maneuverability. But experts say it would take years for North Korea to have a credible hypersonic missile system. (More North Korea stories.)

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