North Korea test-fired a medium-range ballistic missile Sunday.
The North launched the weapon around 4:59 P.M. (Pyongyang time) from a location in Pukchang, Pyeongannam-do, South Pyeongan Province, according to South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff. U.S. Pacific Command characterized the missile as a medium-range ballistic missile, such as the one the North tested in February.
The missile flew 310 miles before it splashed down in the East Sea/Sea of Japan.
“We are aware that North Korea launched an MRBM,” a White House official said in a statement. “This system, last tested in February, has a shorter range than the missiles launched in North Korea’s three most recent tests.”
The weapons system tested in February was a KN-15, also known as a Pukguksong-2. It is a solid-fueled, cold canister-launched MRBM based on its submarine-launched predecessor, the KN-11 or Pukguksong-1.
The latest test comes just one week after North Korea’s most successful test to date, a test of the new Hwasong-12 medium long-range surface-to-surface missile. Some observers suspect that this weapon is the foundation for a future North Korean intercontinental ballistic missile, the key to threatening the U.S. mainland.
South Korea’s defense minister recently said that North Korea’s ballistic missile program is progressing much faster than expected, with some scholars concluding that North Korea could have a working ICBM much sooner than earlier projections suggested.
Sunday’s test marks North Korea’s eleventh ballistic missile test this year.
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