North Korea Claims Successful Test Of Ballistic Missile With ‘Super Large Warhead’

North Korea announced on Tuesday that it had successfully test-fired a new tactical ballistic missile, dubbed Hwasongpho-11Da-4.5, capable of carrying a massive 4.5-ton warhead. This move is part of North Korea’s ongoing efforts to modernize its weapons arsenal amid perceived threats from the U.S. and its allies.

The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported that the missile was tested on Monday to verify its flight stability and accuracy over distances ranging from 55 to 310 miles. South Korea’s military confirmed the launches, noting that the first missile flew 370 miles and the second 75 miles. The second missile’s flight was notably short, failing to reach the usual landing areas off North Korea’s east coast.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff suggested that the second missile might have malfunctioned during its initial flight stage, with potential debris scattered on the ground, though no damage was reported. The KCNA did not disclose the exact launch and landing sites of the missiles, but the dual-range tests implied two separate launches.

KCNA also indicated plans for another test later in July to assess the missile’s simulated warhead performance at a medium range of 155 miles. Since 2022, North Korea has intensified its weapons testing, aiming to develop nuclear-capable weapons targeting key locations in the U.S., South Korea, and Japan. The recent test suggests a focus on targeting South Korea.

Experts believe that North Korea’s goal is to expand its nuclear arsenal to gain leverage in future diplomatic negotiations with the U.S. The latest tests follow North Korea’s vow of “offensive and overwhelming” responses to a new U.S. military drill with South Korea and Japan. Last week, North Korea claimed to have tested a multiwarhead missile, though South Korea dismissed this as a cover-up for a failed launch.

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