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North Korea confirms testing intermediate-range ballistic missile

"The test-fire was aimed to selectively evaluate the missile being produced and deployed and to verify the overall accuracy of the weapon system," Yonhap quoted the North's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) as saying on Monday.

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Pyonyang: North Korea confirmed that it had launched the Hwasong-12 intermediate-range ballistic missile on Sunday, making it the longest-range missile tested by Pyongyang since 2017, the South Korean Yonhap news agency reports.

“The test-fire was aimed to selectively evaluate the missile being produced and deployed and to verify the overall accuracy of the weapon system,” Yonhap quoted the North’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) as saying on Monday.

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According to the South Korean military, the missile was fired from North Korea’s Jagang Province toward the East Sea (Sea of Japan) on Sunday and flew about 800 km (497 miles) with the maximum altitude reaching 2,000 km (1,243 miles).

On Sunday, the same estimates were given by Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno, who said that the missile fell outside of Japan’s Exclusive Economic Zone after around 30 minutes of flight. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un did not attend the Sunday test-firing, Yonhap specified.

The launch of the Hwasong-12 missile, which has a range of 4,500 kilometers (2,796 miles), is North Korea’s longest-range missile test since the test-firing of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) in November 2017.

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said following North Korea’s Sunday launch that the United States is ready to sit down at the negotiating table with Pyongyang, but will still continue to build up its military potential in the region to protect itself and its allies.

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