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N Korea fires longest range missile

According to officials in Tokyo, missile with a range of 800 kilometer touched a height of 2,000 kilometer before it fell off the east coast's water of Korean Peninsula.

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Pyongyang: North Korea on Sunday fired an Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile (IRBM) on Sunday, believed to be its longest range ballistic missile since 2017.

According to officials in Tokyo, missile with a range of 800 kilometer touched a height of 2,000 kilometer before it fell off the east coast’s water of Korean Peninsula.

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North Korea under the leadership of Kim Jong Un has ramped up its missile testing in 2022, and would bolster its defenses against the US and evaluate “restarting all temporally suspended activities,” according to North Korea’s state-run news agency KCNA.

“If the missile were fired at a normal apogee, its range would be up to 3,500 kilometers to 5,500 kilometers, making it an IRBM and North Korea’s longest test since 2017,” Joseph Dempsey, research associate for defence and military analysis at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London, was quoted as saying by CNN.

A US assessment also found the launch to be an IRBM, most likely a KN-17, also known as a Hwasong-12, CNN quoted an official as saying. The launch marks the North’s sixth ballistic missile testing in 2022 and seventh overall.

South Korea President Moon Jae-in said the North is coming close to scrapping the moratorium on Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles, weapons which in theory could strike the US mainland, and nuclear testing, CNN reported. Convening an emergency National Security Council meeting after the launch, Moon said the North’s launch pattern is similar to 2017, “when testing started with IRBMs, before moving to long range ballistic missile launch”.

Meanwhile, the US Indo-Pacific Command said in a statement, “We are aware of the DPRK’s (North Korea) ballistic missile launch today and are consulting closely with the Republic of Korea (South Korea) and Japan, as well as other regional allies and partners.” The US criticised these actions and called on the North to refrain from further destabilising acts.

“While we have assessed this event does not pose an immediate threat to US personnel, territory, or that of our allies, we will continue to monitor the situation,” the statement added. Since Kim Jong-un came into the power in 2011, the North has tested the largest monthly number of projectiles in January.

It launched six projectiles in both March and July 2014, Yonhap News agency reported adding the North fired what it claims to be surface-to-surface tactical guided missiles on Thursday, just two days after its apparent long-range cruise missile test. It also launched four other missiles earlier this month, including self-proclaimed hypersonic missiles. 

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