South Korean officials said today that North Korea’s recent launch of their most powerful intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) to date was staged using an older missile.
The purported launching of a Hwasong-17 missile on March 24 also came with a Hollywood-style propaganda film of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un overseeing its “success.”
The South Korean defense ministry determined the recent missile to have been a Hwasong-15, a smaller ICBM previously tested in November 2017. The ministry based their analysis on the missile’s combustion, acceleration and stage separation times. They also found the ICBM had only two engine nozzles as compared to the Hwasong-17, which is known to have four nozzles.
The propaganda video and images also suggested inconsistencies with time and weather conditions of the actual launch.
“We assess that that launch was a probable ICBM, and we continue to analyze the test in close coordination with our allies and partners,” Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby stated at a press briefing.
South Korean lawmaker Ha Tae-keung believes the launch was likely staged to make up for a failed test of the real Hwasong-17, which exploded after its liftoff from the North Korean capital on March 16, according to South Korean officials.
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