On September 16, North Korea announced that the launch of a short-range ballistic missile the previous day was an exercise by the Railway-borne Missile Regiment.
This day, the Korean Central News Agency announced, “The Railway-borne Missile Regiment moved to the country’s mountainous central region at dawn on September 15 and took part in an exercise according to their mission to strike a target 800 km away.” The North Korean state media further reported, “They quickly moved and staged the operation according to the railway missile system operation regulations and operation order and accurately struck the target in the East Sea 800 km away.”
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was not present at the launch. Instead, party secretary Pak Jong-chon, a member of the Presidium of the Politburo, guided the exercise and senior officials of the Military Affairs Department and the Defense Industry Department at the party’s Central Committee and senior officials of the General Staff Department and the Academy of National Defense Science were there to observe the launch. The railway-borne missile was launched from a train and not from a transporter erector launcher (TEL).
The North Korean state newspaper explained that the Railway-borne Missile Regiment was established in the 8th party congress in January “as part of a new national defense strategy to enhance the ability to simultaneously make multiple hits on threats when a military operation is necessary and to significantly improve the capability to more actively respond to various threats.”
The newspaper further explained that the latest target practice “was conducted to confirm the practicality of the railway-borne missile system, which was introduced in a real situation for the first time, to conduct a surprise evaluation of the newly installed regiment’s combat readiness performance of fire power missions, and to master the actual action procedures.”
ⓒ 경향신문 & 경향닷컴(www.khan.co.kr), 무단전재 및 재배포 금지
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