Kim Jong Un Launches His Second Missile In A Week

KCNA/Handout via Reuters

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Ryan Pickrell China/Asia Pacific Reporter
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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.

Watch: Pukguksong-2

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.

Watch: Hwasong-12

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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