North Korea successfully test-fired a hypersonic missile into the sea this week, a new weapon it said bolsters the isolated country’s defense, North Korean state news outlet Korean Central News Agency claimed, according to reports.
“The development of this weapons system…[has increased] the nation’s capabilities for self-defense in every way,” KCNA said.The Hwasong-8 missile appears far from ready for combat and is in an early stage of development, South Korea’s Joint Chief of Staff said after analyzing the launch, Reuters reported.
The U.S. Indo-Pacific Command said the launch highlighted “the destabilizing impact of (North Korea’s) illicit weapons program.”
KCNA said the missile met key technical requirements during its first flight test, including launch stability and the maneuverability and flight characteristics of the “detached hypersonic gliding warhead.”
Hypersonic weapons are low-flying, maneuverable and can fly more than 3,800 mph, in excess of five times the speed of sound, according to Reuters. Its speed and trajectory make it difficult to shoot down.
The U.S. tested a hypersonic weapon — the Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept — last week. It was the first successful test of that class of weapon in eight years. Russia also had a successful test of a hypersonic cruise missile in July.
A missile expert at a South Korean aerospace university said North Korea’s missile only clocked Mach 2.5, which would make it supersonic not hypersonic and “not comparable” to the U.S. or Russia’s capabilities, according to Reuters.
North Korea also accused the U.S. and South Korea of “double standards” regarding its own weapons development and called on the countries to resume talks, Reuters reported.
The same day as the test the country’s United Nations envoy demanded the U.S and South Korea end joint exercises in the region, according to Axios.
“We regret that the missile was fired at a time when it was very important to stabilize the situation of the Korean peninsula,” South Korea defense ministry spokesman Boo Seung-chan said, according to Reuters.
The U.S. Department of Defense didn’t immediately respond to Fox News’ early morning request for comment.