WORLD War Three fears are mounting after North Korea fired yet another missile on Thursday as the rogue state ramps up its weapons testing.
The renegade regime fired a “newly developed” anti-aircraft missile in its fourth round of weapons tests this month, according to state media.
The Korean Central News Agency said Thursday’s missile launch was of “very practical significance in studying and developing various prospective anti-aircraft missile system”.
It was North Korea’s second known weapons test this week after it fired a previously unseen hypersonic missile on Tuesday.
Tuesday’s launch was of “great strategic significance”, state media said.
It comes as North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said he was willing to restore communication with South Korea in the coming days to help promote peace in the region.
The flurry of missile tests has shown the world how North Korea has been steadily developing increasingly sophisticated weapons.
The Academy of Defence Science, a military weapons developer, said Thursday’s launch was aimed at testing the missile’s launcher, radar, comprehensive battle command vehicle and combat performance.
“The remarkable combat performance of the new-type anti-aircraft missile with features of rapid responsiveness and guidance accuracy of missile control system as well as the substantial increase in the distance of downing air targets has been verified,” state media said.
Kim does not appear to have attended the test, which was instead overseen by Pak Jong Chon – a member of the ruling Workers’ Party’s powerful politburo and Central Committee.
Pyongyang has in recent weeks argued its weapons tests are intended to bolster its self-defence capabilities, and accused the United States and South Korea of “double standards” and “hostile policy” toward it.
On Wednesday, Kim insisted he has no reasons to attack South Korea.
But he slammed US President Joe Biden’s administration for using “more cunning ways and methods” to try and hold talks with the state.
Analysts said North Korea’s approach was aimed at securing international recognition as a nuclear weapons state and drive a wedge between the US and South Korea.
The Japanese defence ministry claimed Tuesday’s projectile may have been a ballistic missile – which is banned under UN sanctions.
South Korean president Moon Jae-in ordered an immediate probe of the launch by Seoul’s National Security Council.
And shortly after Tuesday’s launch, North Korea’s envoy Kim Song spoke at the annual UN General Assembly in New York.
FEARS OF WAR
He said the North had a right to “develop, test, manufacture and possess” weapons systems – and the country is “building up our national defence in order to defend ourselves”.
Less than a fortnight ago, new satellite pictures were released appearing to show that the rogue state is building up supplies of uranium at a new construction site at the Yongbyon nuclear research centre.
Jeffery Lewis, a professor at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, suggested that a new expansion of the facility could increase production of weapons-grade material by 25 per cent.
Meanwhile, the country fired a cruise missile which could have nuclear capability earlier this month.
The projectile’s range is so deadly that it could be capable of reaching Japan.
The move prompted the US to warn of the “threat” the country poses.
In August, the UN atomic agency said North Korea appeared to have restarted a reactor which could produce plutonium for nuclear weapons, calling it a “deeply troubling” development.
Ned Price, the US state department spokesman, said the Biden administration was committed to dialogue with the country.
However, America has so far met by taunts and threats from Jong-un, who maintains that he is still preparing for military “confrontation”.
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