North Korea
North KoreaiStock

North Korea on Monday claimed it flight-tested a new solid-fuel intermediate-range missile tipped with a hypersonic warhead, The Associated Press reported, citing North Korea’s state media.

The report comes a day after the South Korean and Japanese militaries detected the launch from a site near the North Korean capital of Pyongyang, in what was the North’s first ballistic test of 2024.

The North’s official Korean Central News Agency said Sunday’s launch was aimed at verifying the reliability of the missile’s solid-fuel engines and the maneuverable flight capabilities of the hypersonic warhead. It described the test as a success.

KCNA did not mention whether North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was present at the test, which it said was part of the country’s regular weapons development activities.

In December, North Korea twice fired ballistic missiles into the sea off the coast of South Korea.

The country tested dozens of ballistic weapons in 2022, including its first intercontinental ballistic missiles since 2017.

In September, North Korea announced it had built a "tactical nuclear attack submarine" as part of its effort to strengthen its naval force.

Kim has upped the rhetoric in recent weeks. In late December, he said Pyongyang would not hesitate to respond with a nuclear attack when an enemy provokes it with nuclear weapons.

Days later, Kim told the country's military commanders that the most powerful means must be mobilized to destroy the United States and South Korea if they choose a military confrontation.