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North Korea said on Wednesday that it tested in the early hours of the morning a new intercontinental ballistic missile (IBM), the Hawsong-15, “capable of reaching United States territory.”
According to the Pentagon, which has not confirmed that it is a new missile, the launch was detected at 03:17 local time (18:17 GMT).
“The missile was launched from Sain Ni, in North Korea, and flew by some 960 km before falling into the Sea of Japan, within the Japanese exclusive economic zone,” said a statement from a spokesman for the US Department of Defense. United.
The missile was in the air for about 54 minutes, considerably more than the 14 minutes it flew over Japanese territory on August 29.
According to preliminary analysis of the Pentagon, it is the missile that has reached the highest altitude and that has remained in the air for all the time launched by Pyongyang.
During the announcement of the launch made by North Korean television, the presenter reiterated that the missile tested “successfully” could “hit” the United States.
Earlier, US Defense Secretary James Mattis confirmed that the missile “flew higher than any other” of those launched by North Korea, adding that the country is building “ballistic missiles that threaten any part of the world .”
The launch came just a week after Donald Trump’s government included North Korea in the list of countries sponsoring terrorism.
The measure will allow Washington to impose more sanctions on Pyongyang, although there are experts who say it could destabilize the situation in the region even more.
North Korea did not launch an intermediate-range ballistic missile since September 15.
It is believed that Pyongyang is focusing its efforts on the construction of long-range missiles with the potential to reach the United States.
North Korean officials said the first of the longer-range missiles tested in July could reach “anywhere in the world.”
However, the United States said it was an intermediate range missile.
What is known about the “most powerful” missile launched by North Korea
- According to the Pentagon, it was an intercontinental ballistic missile.
- It was launched, apparently, from a mobile platform and on a high trajectory (which only seeks to gain the maximum possible height).
- It remained in the air for 54 minutes, the longest time in the air so far of the missiles tested by Pyongyang.
- It flew at an altitude of 4,500 kilometers, the highest that a North Korean missile reaches so far (more than 10 times the height at which the International Space Station orbits).
- In a normal trajectory, it would have had a range of 13,000 kilometers , enough to reach Washington, the west coast of the United States , Europe or Australia , according to calculations of David Wright, a missile expert from the Union of Concerned Scientists.
- North Korea said it is Hwasong-1 5 , a new type of IBM.
In its latest nuclear test, Pyongyang used a miniaturized hydrogen bomb that could be loaded into a long-range missile, which further increased tensions with the United States.
In mid-November, Washington imposed new sanctions on the North Korean regime.
The measure focused on North Korean international commercial operations and Chinese companies doing business with that country.
The condemnation of the launch this Wednesday was quick.
The Japanese government said it “will never accept the provocative and continuous behavior of North Korea” and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council
The EU called the launch an “unacceptable violation” of North Korea’s international obligations.
Britain’s ambassador to the UN, Matthew Rycroft, called it “a reckless act”.
Major missile tests of North Korea in 2017
North Korea conducted numerous missile tests this year. Some of them exploded shortly after the launch, but others traveled hundreds of kilometers before falling into the sea. These are some of the main tests reported so far:
February 12 – A medium-range ballistic missile was launched from the Banghyon air base near the west coast. It flew east to the Sea of Japan for about 500 km.
April 4 – A medium-range ballistic missile was fired from the eastern port of Sinpo to the Sea of Japan. The Ministry of Defense of South Korea said that the missile flew about 60 km.
July 4 – Pyongyang claimed to have successfully tested an intercontinental ballistic missile for the first time. Authorities said it reached an altitude of 2,802 km and flew for 39 minutes.
August 29 – North Korea fired what is believed to be its first ballistic missile capable of carrying nuclear weapons that flew over Japan. It was launched from near Pyongyang and reached a height of approximately 550 km.
September 15 – A ballistic missile was launched for the second time on Japan falling in the sea off Hokkaido. It reached an altitude of approximately 770 km and traveled 3,700 km.