LA Times – A newly tested North Korean short-range ballistic missile appears to be a copy of an advanced Russian design that could greatly improve Pyongyang’s ability to evade U.S. missile defense systems, according to U.S. officials.
President Trump, who has sought unsuccessfully for the last year to persuade North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to give up his nuclear weapons, has dismissed the new missile as “very standard stuff.” But military and national security officials see a potential threat to U.S. forces and allies in northeast Asia.
Three of the missiles were test-fired on May 4 and May 9 from northwest North Korea. They flew on a low trajectory, never exiting the Earth’s atmosphere, and flew about 180 miles before plunging into the Sea of Japan, also known as the East Sea.
Pictures showed the missile closely resembles a short-range Russian missile called the Iskander, right down to the solid fuel engine and four fins on its tail for making in-flight course adjustments. The similarities are so strong that some experts dubbed Pyongyang’s version “the Kimskander” after the tests.