A television displays news broadcast's infographics reporting on North Korea test-firing ballistic missiles, at a station in Seoul, South Korea, 06 March 2017. EFE-EPA/KIM HEE-CHUL/FILE

North Korea tests new solid fuel engine for medium-range ballistic missiles

Seoul, Nov 15 (EFE).- North Korea announced Wednesday it had tested new solid fuel engines for intermediate-range ballistic missiles and described the tests as successful.

A woman watches the news at a station in Seoul, South Korea, 03 November 2022. EFE-EPA/JEON HEON-KYUN/FILE

The tests for the engines of the first and second phase of the future new projectile were carried out on Saturday and Tuesday, according to the state agency KCNA.

The images published by KCNA show the tests were carried out on the horizontal test benches that the regime has at the Sohae space launch station and at its Magunpo solid fuel engine test center, in the northeast coast.

The agency said the tests respond this year to the requirement to improve the Hwasong-18, the first solid-fuel intercontinental ballistic missile developed by the regime, and the range of intermediate-range missiles. This was discussed at the plenary session of the Central Committee of the single party in December 2022 and at the expanded meeting of the Central Military Commission last February.

Solid fuel allows the storage of already loaded projectiles, allowing for faster deployment and launch that makes preemptive attacks by the enemy more difficult.

North Korea already has an intermediate-range solid-fuel missile, the Pukguksong-2, a projectile successfully tested for the first time in February 2017 and with an estimated range (between 1,000 and 2,000 kilometers) that would be in the longest range.

Improving and expanding its arsenal of medium-range solid-fuel missiles would allow North Korea to more quickly launch weapons with nuclear potential aimed at targets located throughout almost all of East Asia.

The tests “were very successful” and served to “reverify the reliability and stability” of this type of engine, according to KCNA.

“The recent tests are an essential process to further improve the strategic offensive capabilities of the Armed Forces,” added the text, which spoke of the “serious and unstable security environment that the country faces and the future military situation in the region, in which the military collusion maneuvers of the enemies will become more perverse.”

After the failure of denuclearization negotiations with Washington, Pyongyang approved a weapons modernization plan in 2021 and has since carried out countless missile tests, in addition to rejecting the restart of dialogue and seeking greater rapprochement with Beijing and Moscow.

Meanwhile, Seoul and Washington have reinforced military cooperation with Tokyo and strengthened their deterrence mechanism by repeatedly deploying American strategic assets, such as aircraft carriers or bombers, to the peninsula. EFE