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PoliticsNorth Korea

North Korea claims new missile can carry 4.5-ton warhead

July 2, 2024

South Korea has questioned the North's claim of having test fired missiles capable of carrying "super-large warheads," saying it was likely "deception."

People watch a television screen showing a news broadcast with file footage of a North Korean missile test, at a train station in Seoul
North Korea's military is set to conduct another launch of the same type of missile in JulyImage: Jung Yeon-Je/AFP/Getty Images

North Korea on Tuesday said it successfully tested a new tactical ballistic missile capable of carrying a "super large warhead," according to state news agency KCNA. 

Pyongyang said the test, named Hwasongpho-11 Da-4.5, was conducted with a simulated heavy warhead to verify flight stability and accuracy. The report did not elaborate on the nature of the simulated warhead.

This comes a day after South Korea reported the launch of two ballistic missiles by Pyongyang, adding that the second missile blew up over land soon after the launch.

Ballistic missiles, depending on their design, can carry conventional high explosives as well as chemical, biological, or nuclear munitions. North Korea is prohibited from testing ballistic projectiles by the UN and faces several sanctions for advancing its nuclear capabilities. 

North Korea's military is set to conduct another launch of the same type of missile in July to test the "explosion power" of the super-large warhead, KCNA said. This is a rare disclosure of a planned missile launch.

How did South Korea react?

North Korea's report on the missile test was likely "deception," Seoul's Joint Chiefs of Staff spokesperson Colonel Lee Sung-jun told a briefing.

"Conducting a test-fire inland is extremely rare and it is highly likely to be false to claim it has succeeded," he said. 

Seoul's military conducted artillery drills within 5 kilometers of the Military Demarcation Line in the Demilitarized Zone of its border with the North, an army official said in the briefing.

These exercises were resumed after the North launched hundreds of balloons carrying garbage toward South Korea, leading to the suspension of a military pact signed with Pyongyang. 

South Korea has been increasingly concerned over the North's warming relations with Russia. 

North Korea is suspected of supplying ballistic missiles and artillery shells to Russia — an allegation both countries deny despite their pledges of military cooperation and a pact of mutual military support. 

Russia's cooperation with Pyongyang worries Seoul

mk/fb (AFP, Reuters)