N Korea’s ‘new guided weapon’ designed for ground combat, not a ballistic missile, says South’s military

20-Apr-2019 Intellasia | South China Morning Post | 6:38 AM Print This Post

The “new tactical guided weapon” that North Korea said it test-fired this week is believed to be a guided weapon for ground combat, not a ballistic missile that would have constituted a breach of sanctions, a South Korean official said on Friday.

On Thursday, the North’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said leader Kim Jong-un oversaw the test-firing of a new “tactical guided weapon”, touting its development as an “event of very weighty significance” in strengthening its military power.

But KCNA did not specify what the newly developed weapon was, prompting US and South Korean intelligence authorities to pore over data to determine what the test was about.

“We suspect it was a guided weapon used in ground battles. We do not see it as a ballistic missile,” the military Joint Chiefs of Staff told journalists.

 (South China Morning Post)

(South China Morning Post)

“This assessment was jointly made by South Korea and the United States. We cannot give further details as they are matters of military intelligence,” he said.

Earlier, Acting US Defence Secretary Patrick Shanahan also said it was likely a “new tactical guided weapons firing test” that was “not a ballistic missile”.

CNN said the initial US intelligence assessment is that North Korea tested components for an anti-tank weapon, rather than a fully operational new weapon, citing a US official directly familiar with the latest assessment,

The assessment is based on a review of information gathered from satellites and aircraft, which did not register any indication of a launch of any type of short-range tactical weapon or a ballistic missile, CNN said, citing the official.

The US believes if North Korea had launched a fully functioning anti-tank weapon, their sensors would have likely picked up some indication it had been fired. That did not happen, the official said, according to CNN.

The latest test came as negotiations to end the North’s nuclear ambitions stalled, with both the United States and the North remaining sceptical of each other’s ulterior motives.

Kim and US President Donald Trump met in Hanoi in February but failed to reach an agreement, with the North requesting harsh US sanctions to be lifted in return for it shutting down its largest nuclear facility.




Category: Korea

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