North Korea Says It Fired New 'Tactical Guided' Missiles

North Korean state media said Friday the new missiles it tested into the Sea of Japan can be armed with warheads weighing 2.5 tons.

Video Transcript

SASHA INGBER: North Korea fired two ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan this week. And now, we're learning how powerful they are. On Friday, North Korean state media said the new missiles can be armed with warheads weighing 2 and 1/2 tons.

JOSHUA POLLACK: These missiles appear to be of the arrow ballistic type, meaning that they fly purely in the atmosphere. They don't go up into space. And they can maneuver more than a typical ballistic missile.

So they tend to be more precise. And they tend to be harder to intercept with missile defenses.

SASHA INGBER: Nuclear weapons expert, Joshua Pollack says the solid-fueled missiles don't appear to have been nuclear armed.

JOSHUA POLLACK: Reasons for that are that it's-- they're highly accurate, which nuclear weapons don't need to be. And they're designed to carry an extra heavy payload, which again, nuclear weapons don't require. It appears more likely that they are conventional bunker buster missiles.

SASHA INGBER: Kim Jong-un's regime calls the weapons a new type of tactical-guided projectile. The tests come days after Pyongyang launched cruise missiles and defied the United Nations Security council's ban on ballistic missile tests prompting an emergency meeting. President Biden is now facing questions about whether he'll act.

JOE BIDEN: We're consulting with our allies and partners and there will be responses. If they choose to escalate, we will respond accordingly.

SASHA INGBER: It's North Korea's first ballistic missile test in a year. But some analysts tell Newsy the countries conducted these tests in the past and gotten little response from the US. They believe it's a warning to South Korea more than to the United States. The White House is expected to release a policy review on North Korea in the coming days. From Washington, Sasha Ingber, Newsy.