NZ condemns North Korea’s hypersonic missile launch

Source: 1News

New Zealand has condemned North Korea’s recent hypersonic missile launch, saying it threatened regional security.

In a tweet from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the ministry wrote the launch on Wednesday was a “further violation” of UN Security Council resolutions that called for North Korea to end its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes.

“Its repeated tests are a threat to regional security and of great concern to Aotearoa NZ and our partners in the region.”

On Thursday, North Korea claimed it conducted a second successful test flight of a hypersonic missile.

It came days after its leader Kim Jong Un vowed to bolster his military forces despite the difficulties his country faced amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Wednesday’s launch, the North’s first known weapons test in about two months, indicates the country will press ahead with plans to modernise its nuclear and missile arsenals rather than return to disarmament talks anytime soon.

Hypersonic weapons, which fly at speeds in excess of Mach 5, or five times the speed of sound, could pose crucial challenges to missile defence systems because of their speed and maneuverability.

It’s unclear whether and how soon North Korea could manufacture such a high-tech missile, but it was among a wish-list of sophisticated military assets that Kim disclosed early last year, along with a multi-warhead missile, spy satellites, solid-fueled long-range missiles and underwater-launched nuclear missiles.

Wednesday’s test was the second of its kind since North Korea first launched a hypersonic missile last September.

The official Korean Central News Agency said the successful launches “have strategic significance in that they hasten a task for modernising strategic armed force of the state”.

Additional reporting by Associated Press.