The recent addition of the solid-fueled Hwasong-18 intercontinental ballistic missile to North Korea intensifies Pyongyang’s nuclear response capability, according to North Korean sources and Russian media.
A Shift in North Korean defense strategy
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un stated that the arrival of the Hwasong-18 in the DPRK’s arsenal would change the country’s defense strategy, adopting a more offensive approach. The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported that Kim Jong-un was present during the launch test of the new missile.
The Hwasong-18 has generated a “security crisis” among Pyongyang’s enemies, according to the North Korean leader, who blames his adversaries for the deterioration of the situation on the Korean peninsula.
North Korean journalists describe the new missile as the DPRK’s most powerful and important defense weapon, designed to deter external aggression and ensure national security.
successful launch test
The test launch of the Hwasong-18, personally supervised by Kim Jong-un, took place on April 13. The daughter of the North Korean leader was also present.
Servicemen from the 2nd Red Banner Company of North Korea’s Main Missile Directorate carried out the launch. The rocket’s first stage fell into the sea 10 kilometers from the coast, and the second 335 kilometers. The test was carried out successfully without causing damage.
It has been confirmed that the launch was a military test of air defense rockets developed by North Korea. The military conducted the launch to test electronic warfare systems, the accuracy of flight control systems, and cruise missile technology. The launch was also carried out to improve North Korea’s air defense capability.
Increased missile tests in North Korea
In recent years, Pyongyang has tested short-, medium-, and long-range ICBMs. On one occasion, a North Korean missile flew over Japan and landed in international waters.
Japan has considered North Korea and China the main security threats. In response, Tokyo has adapted its defense strategy over the past 12 months.
Japan has begun producing Type 12 surface-to-ship missiles and developing a hypersonic missile to counter threats from China and North Korea. In addition, Tokyo announced its intention to purchase 400 Tomahawk cruise missiles with a range of 1,600 km. Production is expected to end in 2026.
Consequences on regional security
North Korea’s new Hwasong-18 ICBM represents a defensive strategy change and increases regional tension. The escalating arms race in Northeast Asia raises serious concerns about future stability and security.