North Korea Tests Missile With US Target In Mind

 March 21, 2024

The brisk pace of advancements in North Korea's missile program caught the world's attention once more this week.

According to Fox News, North Korea has made significant progress in its missile technology by successfully conducting a ground jet test of a solid-fuel engine for a new intermediate-range hypersonic missile, signifying a potential threat to far-reaching U.S. territories.

On Tuesday, March 19, 2024, a remarkable event unfolded at the Sohae Satellite Launching Ground. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un personally supervised the test of a multi-stage solid-fuel engine designed for a new intermediate-range hypersonic missile. This demonstration underscores the nation's ambitions to enhance its strike capabilities, particularly against targets as distant as U.S. territories in the Pacific, with Guam being explicitly mentioned.

Kim Jong Un's leadership was displayed as he oversaw the proceedings, asserting the missile's strategic importance. He remarked on the missile's potential to reach the U.S. mainland, a statement reflecting North Korea's ongoing efforts to bolster its offensive military capabilities. These advancements are not merely to showcase power but are part of a broader strategy to develop missiles that can target critical U.S. locations, including military installations in Alaska and Okinawa, Japan.

North Korea's quest for undetectable weapons

A significant focus of North Korea's missile development has been the pursuit of hypersonic weapons. These weapons, capable of evading U.S. and South Korean missile defenses due to their speed and maneuverability, represent a strategic shift. North Korea is leveraging solid propellant technology, known for being more difficult to detect before launch than liquid-propellant missiles, to enhance the stealth and surprise of its attacks.

The test at Sohae was not North Korea's first foray into solid-fuel missile technology. In January 2024, the country conducted a flight test of a new solid-fuel intermediate-range ballistic missile equipped with a hypersonic, maneuverable warhead. In November, this was followed by engine tests for an intermediate-range missile, indicating a consistent and focused effort to advance its missile capabilities.

Missile expert Chang Young-keun provided insight into the implications of the recent test. He suggested that the test's success hints at an imminent launch of the new hypersonic missile. Such advancements underscore the urgency and seriousness of North Korea's intent to refine its military technology.

In the face of perceived threats

North Korea's advancements come at a time of heightened tensions and perceived hostilities. Kim Jong Un has been vocal about developing high-tech weapons systems in response to what he perceives as U.S. aggression. This resolve was further highlighted just a day before the engine test when South Korea, the U.S., and Japan detected multiple ballistic missile launches from North Korea.

In his statement, Kim Jong Un emphasized the success of the recent test, noting the new missile's strategic significance in targeting the U.S. mainland. His words were a signal to the international community about North Korea's growing military capabilities.

Kim Jong Un stated the strategic value of the new missile, noting that it could target the U.S. mainland, and said that "enemies know better about it" while commending "the great success in the important test."

This development comes when experts anticipate an increase in North Korean missile tests, particularly as the U.S. presidential election in November 2024 approaches. Such actions indicate North Korea's intent to assert its presence on the global stage, challenging international norms and signaling its refusal to be marginalized.


The successful ground jet test of a solid-fuel engine for a new intermediate-range hypersonic missile by North Korea at the Sohae Satellite Launching Ground represents a significant technological advancement in its military capabilities. Under Kim Jong Un's guidance, North Korea is focused on developing weapons that can target far-reaching U.S. territories, including Guam, and potentially reach the U.S. mainland.

This development underscores the strategic shift towards hypersonic and solid-fuel technology that evades detection and missile defenses. With the anticipation of further tests and advancements, the international community remains watchful of North Korea's growing military prowess.

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