North Korea did not test new ICBM as claimed: local media

Seoul, Mar 27 (EFE).- Seoul and Washington believe North Korea fired a smaller-scale missile last week than the one it claims to have launched, according to military sources cited by Yonhap news agency.

On Thursday, North Korea launched an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that flew 1,090 kilometers and reached an altitude of more than 6,200 kilometers.

The next day it published photos and a video claiming that it had launched a Hwasong-17, a new ICBM that it had exhibited for the first time in 2020 but had not tested until now.

But the allies believe the North again tested a Hwasong-15, which it fired in 2017, citing similarities in the number of engine nozzles and first-stage rocket engine combustion time using information complied by satellite data and intelligence assets, Yonhap said.

The statement comes a day after analysts from several countries noted inconsistencies in the video and photos published by Pyongyang on Friday.

On Saturday, senior analytic correspondent for the specialized website NK News, Colin Zwirko, was the first to bring attention to inconsistencies in the material, in which images taken on Thursday seem to have been mixed with others captured on Mar. 16, when North Korea conducted a failed ICBM test from the same location.

Other analysts also highlighted these inconsistencies, ranging from the position of the shadows on the ground, to the weather in photos being different to what it was on the day, to the appearance of the terrain from which the missile was launched.

On the same day of the latest launch, Yonhap cited South Korean military sources who considered that Thursday’s projectile was probably a modified version of a Hwasong-15, an ICBM with a lower range than the Hwasong-17.

In any case, experts agree that the latest North Korean launch sends a clear message from Pyongyang, which is currently reluctant to return to dialogue and is focused on strengthening its nuclear deterrence assets. EFE


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