North Korea Claims Breakthrough in Missile Technology

SEOUL --- North Korea’s latest missile launch is its third apparent breakthrough in missile technology in less than three weeks.

Pyongyang claimed Tuesday that the short-range ballistic missile fired Monday had a speeded-up launch process and a precision-control guidance system that can zero in within 23 feet of a target.

If true, the North’s new capability would mark the third major milestone that North Korea has claimed in less than three weeks. Tuesday’s claim follows the launch of what analysts believe is North Korea’s longest-range functioning missile and the test-firing last week of a solid-fueled missile that requires virtually no preparation time before launch.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attended Monday’s test-launch, the state-run North Korean Central News Agency said Tuesday. It said the missile was fired from the back of a “newly designed” launch vehicle.

The missile employed a preparatory launch process that was more highly automated “for markedly reducing the launching time” of its traditional liquid-fueled missiles, Mr. Kim was quoted as saying.

Almost all of North Korea’s missiles use liquid fuel and must be filled at the launch site before firing, a laborious process that makes the missile vulnerable to a pre-emptive strike. North Korea has recently turned to developing solid-fueled missiles that contain the fuel inside and don’t need to be filled beforehand.

But according to North Korea’s latest boast, the liquid-fueled missile tested Monday, which analysts believe to be a variant of a short-range liquid-fueled Scud missile, can now be launched with less lead time. (end of excerpt)

Click here for the full story, on the Wall Street Journal website.


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