Two days after the latest provocative missile test by North Korea, in which it launched a “new type” of ballistic missile, one which experts warned had a substantially longer range than any existing rocket North Korea had fired, on Monday morning North Korea announced that it had successfully conducted a mid-to-long range missile test on Sunday supervised by leader Kim Jong Un which was aimed at verifying the capability to carry a “large scale heavy nuclear warhead.”
The country’s KCNA news agency further said that the Hwasong-12 missile was launched at the highest angle so as not to affect the security of neighboring countries and flew 787 kilometers reaching an altitude of 2,111.5 kilometers.
In an earlier article, we explained how and why the ballistic missile used may have been the most advanced one tested by North Korea yet.
For those who may have missed it, here it is again: “North Korea’s Latest Ballistic Missile Was A “New Type” With Dramatically Longer Range“
After North Korea provoked both its neighbors and the US when on Sunday morning it fired off yet another ballistic missile from Kusong near the border with China – one which this time did not explode upon launch – just days after the election of a new South Korean president who ironically advocates more engagement with Pyongyang, experts said the missile appeared to be a new type of ballistic missile, and had a far greater range than any other weapon North Korea has successfully launched.
According to Japanese Defense Minister Tomomi Inada, the missile rose to a height of about 2,000 kilometers, a much steeper trajectory than usual for a North Korean missile test. She also confirmed that officials were looking into the possibility that it was a “new type of ballistic missile.” Japan’s cabinet secretary, Yoshihide Suga, said the missile traveled for about 30 minutes and landed 700 kilometers east of the launch site. A spokesman for South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff estimated the distance at 435 miles.
Cited by the WSJ, independent experts said the missile, if fired at a conventional angle, could have flown 2,800 miles—far enough to reach the U.S. military base in Guam.
That is a “considerably longer range than its current missiles,” said David Wright, co-director of the Global Security Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists, in an analysis of the launch.
As the Journal adds, while North Korea’s Taepodong-2 rocket has flown farther than Sunday’s missile, North Korea classifies it as a satellite launcher that isn’t designed to deliver a warhead back to earth. It is, however, banned by United Nations sanctions because similar technology could be used to make an intercontinental ballistic missile.
North Korea’s previous most recent launch from Kusong took place in February, during a summit meeting between Mr. Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. The February launch also featured a new type of missile for North Korea, one that uses a solid fuel-powered engine. The test involved an intermediate-range ballistic missile that was modified from a missile that North Korea launched from a submarine last year. It was later paraded through the streets of Pyongyang in April for a national holiday.