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S. Korea, U.S. believe N. Korea's ICBM launch was of smaller Hwasong-15, not Hwasong-17 Updated: 2022-03-28 12:32:53 KST


South Korean and U.S. intel agencies believe last week's ICBM launch by North Korea involved a Hwasong-15 missile.
According to multiple sources, the Hwasong-15 was disguised to look like the newer and larger Hwasong-17, which is dubbed by watchers as (quote) 'a monster missile.'
The allies' joint analysis was based on input from intelligence assets, and shows the missile had two engine nozzles, like the Hwasong-15 the North test-fired back in 2017.
The Hwasong-17 has four nozzles.
The analysis also showed the engine combustion time of the first-stage rocket was similar to that of the Hwasong-15.
However, military authorities noted the missile fired last Thursday flew a similar trajectory to the Hwasong-15 test-fired four years ago, but at a higher altitude and for a longer distance.
South Korea's military intelligence also believes the launch video later released by the regime was actually a patchwork of earlier footage from the previous tests of Hwasong-17 variations.
On a related note, North Korea may be preparing a nuclear test as it seems to be working on a shortcut to a tunnel at its nuclear test site in Punggye-ri.
If the North goes ahead with the provocation, it would be Pyeongyang's first known nuclear test in four-and-a-half years.
According to South Korean government sources Sunday, it has detected signs of the North restoring Tunnel 3 in the mountainous northeastern region.
Against such a backdrop, pundits say the regime may test a small tactical nuclear weapon that can be loaded onto ballistic missiles sometime around April 25th, a key national holiday commemorating the founding of the Korean People's Revolutionary Army.
Kim Hyo-sun, Arirang News.
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