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North Korea pushes boundaries with biggest missile launch since 2017

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North Korea pushes boundaries with biggest missile launch since 2017
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Hwasong-12 launch (Image Credit: KCNA via Reuters)

Seoul: North Korea has apparently tested it's Hwasong-12 intermediate-range ballistic missile (IBRM) on Sunday, reported South Korean and Japanese media. This is the seventh missile test this month as political pundits speculate a growing pressure from North Korea to force the world to accept it's missile programmes.

Sunday's test "confirmed the accuracy, safety, and operational effectiveness of the produced Hwasong-12 type weapon system," North Korean state news agency KCNA reported. The Hwasong missile is the same as the one with which North Korea had once threatened the US territory of Guam with. It is also the largest missile to be launched since 2017.

North Korea has previously said the Hwasong-12 can carry a "large-size heavy nuclear warhead," and analysts estimate it has a range of 4,500 km. This time, the launch was conducted, keeping in mind the safety of neighbouring countries and a camera was fitted on the missile which took pictures from outer space, KCNA reported.

The United States is concerned North Korea's escalating missile tests could be precursors to resumed tests of nuclear weapons and intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and vowed an unspecified response "designed to show our commitment to our allies," a senior U.S. official told reporters in Washington.

While South Korea has been urging the North to enter talks with no preconditions, the Kim Jong Un-led government had refused, citing the US continued "hostile" stance which includes sanctions against it as well as visible shows of strength by participating in military drills with South Korea.

Kim Jong Un had in 2018, declared that his nuclear force was complete and that no more missile testing would take place after a series of talks involving then-US President Donald Trump. However, in 2019, the North Korean leader announced that they wer eno longer bound by the moratorium as the US was not willing to engage in proper talks.

South Korean Defence Minister Suh Wook visited his country's Army Missile Command on Monday to check its readiness in the face of the North Korean launches, the ministry said in a statement.

The missile testing posed a "direct and serious threat" to South Korea as well as a "grave challenge" to global stability, Suh was quoted as saying by Reuters.

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TAGS:North Korea Missile Military USA South Korea 
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