Dramatic images captured the moment North Korea test-fired a new “railway-borne missile system” to defend against any forces that threaten Kim Jong Un’s Hermit Kingdom.
The missiles flew almost 500 miles Wednesday before striking a target in the sea off the country’s east coast, Reuters reported Thursday, citing the state news agency KCNA.
“The railway-borne missile system serves as an efficient counter-strike means capable of dealing a harsh multi-concurrent blow to the threat-posing forces,” said Pak Jong Chon, a member of the Presidium of the Politburo of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea, who oversaw the test, KCNA reported.
Newly released images show a missile rising on a column of smoke and flame from the roof of a train parked on tracks in a mountainous region.
South Korea said the missiles were fired from the central inland area of Yangdok.
“Rail mobile missiles are a relatively cheap and reliable option for countries seeking to improve the survivability of their nuclear forces,” Adam Mount, a senior fellow at the Federation of American Scientists, said on Twitter.
“Russia did it. The US considered it. It makes a ton of sense for North Korea,” he added.
The rail system could possibly set the stage for developing one capable of launching a larger, nuclear-armed intercontinental ballistic missile, Ankit Panda, a senior fellow at the US-based Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, told Reuters.
The launches came as South Korea tested a submarine-launched ballistic missile, becoming the first country without nuclear weapons to develop such a system, according to Reuters.
On Wednesday, South Korea and Japan said they had detected the launch of two ballistic missiles from North Korea, just days after it tested a cruise missile that experts said could have nuclear capabilities.