North Korea’s latest ICBM launch signals new phase of long-range missile drills
Military reportedly launched Hwasong-15 on short notice, as DPRK shifts focus from development to operational exercises
North Korea’s first intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) launch of 2023 wasn’t a test; it was an exercise.
State media reported on Sunday that the launch of a Hwasong-15 ICBM the day prior was “suddenly organized without previous notice under an emergency firepower combat standby order.”
With this launch, North Korea’s burgeoning liquid-propellant ICBM force is transitioning away from testing and evaluation — its focus since 2017 — toward an operational focus. Much like Pyongyang’s shorter-range missile units, ICBM units under the Missile General Bureau will carry out exercises.
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