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North Korean policy and hypersonic weapons tests

The North Korean authorities have officially abandoned the plan for peaceful reunification with South Korea as their key policy goal. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un no longer sees the neighbouring country as a “partner for reconciliation and unification.” The North Korean leader also reportedly ordered changes to the country’s constitution to remove all references to “peaceful reunification” and “grand national unity.” It also applies to television programs, websites and monuments. The two Koreas have been engaged in an armistice – but not a peace treaty – since the end of the Korean War in 1953. As a result, the two nations remain essentially at war.

The North Koreans reported testing a solid-fuel missile with a hypersonic warhead. According to the state-owned Korean Central News Agency, the missile launch was detected by neighbouring Japan and South Korea to check the reliability of new multi-stage, high-thrust solid-fuel engines and a medium-range hypersonic guided warhead. Hypersonic weapons are designed to travel distances at speeds exceeding Mach 5, which is five times the speed of sound.

Despite the difficult economic situation, Pyongyang carried out last year a record-breaking series of weapons tests, including the first solid-fuel ballistic missile, which experts considered a major technological breakthrough. After two failed attempts, North Korea also launched its first spy satellite.

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