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North Korea ready to prove ICBM progress by firing on normal trajectory, claims Kim’s sister Kim Yo Jong

Seoul, South Korea

North Korea is ready to test an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) on a normal trajectory, leader Kim Jong Un’s sister told state media on Tuesday, a flight pattern that could prove the weapons can threaten the world. continental United States.

In a statement published by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), Kim Yo Jong – the top official in her brother’s regime – also dismissed experts’ skepticism about the progress of North Korea’s ICBM technology, particularly regarding the re-entry capability of its weapons.

ICBMs are fired into space, where they accelerate out of the atmosphere before their payloads – nuclear warheads – undergo a fiery re-entry process, much like a space shuttle or space capsule, before plunging onto their targets.

If the process is not carried out with extreme precision and with materials capable of withstanding the immense heat generated, the warhead would burn out before reaching its target. The angle at which the warhead re-enters the atmosphere can make the process more difficult.

To date, North Korea has fired ballistic missiles that travel hundreds of miles through space and then rent the atmosphere at steep angles, most falling in the waters between North Korea and Japan.

To successfully target the mainland United States, a North Korean missile would need to take a much shallower flight path and a shallower angle of re-entry.

“For several years, so-called experts have been saying that the re-entry of our ICBMs into the atmosphere has not been recognized or verified,” Kim Yo Jong said.

“It seems obvious that they will try to disparage our strategic weapons capabilities with such logic that it cannot be proven by a single high-angle launch, and can only be known by firing at an angle normal… I’ll give an easy answer to that, we can try it soon and once you see it, you’ll know.

In November, North Korea claimed to have launched a “new type” of ICBM, the Hwasong-17 – a missile that could theoretically reach the American mainland.

It was one of a record 35 occasions this year when North Korea tested missiles.

Western officials and experts also expect Pyongyang to test a nuclear warhead at any time. If this test happens, it will be the first since 2017.

On Sunday, North Korea fired two ballistic missiles that the South Korean military assessed as medium-range ballistic missiles (MRBMs).

The next day, KCNA said the country’s space agency had conducted a “final gateway process of a reconnaissance satellite launch”.

Photos published in the official Rodong Sinmun newspaper on Monday appeared to show high-altitude black-and-white aerial photos of South Korea’s capital Seoul and neighboring city of Incheon – location of the South’s main airport – but many experts have questioned the images. authenticity, especially given their low resolution.​

In Tuesday’s statement, Kim Yo Jong defended North Korea’s recent report of a development test of its satellite and dismissed experts’ skepticism over the alleged aerial photos.

“The skepticism of the so-called South Korean experts on the two photos taken by a test color camera and their assessment of the state of development and readiness of my country’s satellites is so inappropriate and frivolous,” he said. she declared.

She defended that the tests had been carried out correctly and that the results were known to the public.

“Through the test, important technical indicators such as camera operation technology, data processing and transmission capability of communication devices, and tracking and control accuracy of the ground control system have been confirmed. under the conditions of the space environment,” she said, according to KCNA.

“Our people will stand firm in our Party’s plan to develop reconnaissance satellites, no matter what the cost.”

Meanwhile, high-end American F-22 stealth fighters are in South Korea this week for combined exercises with South Korean forces, the South Korean Defense Ministry said.

On Tuesday, the two allies combined air power for drills in the Korean Air Defense Identification Zone near the southwestern part of Jeju Island, the ministry said, noting the deployment of a bomber American B-52 near the Korean Peninsula.

On the South Korean side, F-35 and F-15K fighter jets participated, according to a ministry statement.

He said the US F-22s, currently stationed in Japan, will remain in South Korea this week and conduct training with a focus on strengthening North Korea’s nuclear and missile threat response capabilities. .

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