North Korea confirms launch of new ICBM

Seoul, Mar 25 (EFE).- North Korea confirmed Friday that it launched its new Hwasong-17 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) and that the projectile reached heights not previously achieved.

The new type of missile, “launched at the Pyongyang International Airport, flew 1,090 kilometers in 4,052 seconds, while going up to the highest altitude 6,248.5 kilometers before correctly hitting the target in the set waters over the East Sea (Sea of Japan),” reported KCNA.

Thursday’s test, which was attended by leader Kim Jong-un, according to KCNA, was the first ICBM test since 2017, breaking the moratorium that it self-imposed in 2018 when entering diplomacy with the United States.

The text of the North Korean state news agency assured that “the missile was test-fired vertically in consideration of the security of the neighboring states.”

The Hwasong-17 fell in Japanese waters just 150 kilometers west of the island of Hokkaido, making it the closest North Korean projectile to have fallen off Japanese shores.

Tokyo on Thursday denounced the launch and the fact that Pyongyang did not pre-notify the maritime and air traffic authorities.

KCNA stressed that the development of the new missile was carried out “in a short span of time” and that Thursday’s test “clearly proved that all the fixed numbers of the weapon system have correctly met the demand of its design.”

The text added that the “reliability of its prompt operation under the wartime condition can be ensured scientifically and technically and practically.”

The North Korean regime outlined at the 2021 sole party congress a five-year weapons modernization plan that is behind its current string of weapons tests – a record 12 since the beginning of the year.

In turn, since the failure of the negotiations with the US in 2019, it has rejected Washington’s invitations for dialogue at a time when the country is still closed due to the pandemic and without vaccines, making it unlikely to be holding high-level diplomatic meetings. EFE


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