North Korea launched a suspected intercontinental ballistic missile around first light Wednesday, according to the Pentagon.
The missile was fired eastward from a spot near Pyongsong, South Pyongyan Province, an area located to the north of the North Korean capital city of Pyongyang, according to South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, Yonhap News Agency reports.
The missile, which flew for approximately 50 minutes, appears to have landed in the Japanese Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in the East Sea/Sea of Japan, according to the Japanese government, NHK introduced. The initial assessment of the Department of Defense is that the missile, which flew to a height of 4,500 kilometers and covered a distance of 1,000 kilometers on a lofted trajectory, was an intercontinental ballistic missile similar to the two North Korea tested in July.
It is unclear whether North Korea tested an improved version of the Hwasong-14 ICBM or something new, as the ballistic missile launched Wednesday appears to be more powerful than its predecessors.
The rogue North Korean regime has not launched a ballistic missile since it fired a Hwasong-12 intermediate-range ballistic missile over Japan into the Pacific Ocean in mid-September. Tests tend to decrease in the fall, and while there are a number of theories as to why this is, there is no definitive explanation. With the latest launch, North Korea has broken its silence.
Japan intercepted a radio signal Tuesday hinting at an imminent missile launch, and in recent weeks, South Korean intelligence has detected a flurry of activity at North Korean missile sites. Washington, Seoul, and Tokyo have been watching North Korea closely for signs of a provocation, that many believed could come in the next few days.
The latest launch is North Korea’s 20th missile launch this year and its third ICBM test.
In response to this provocation, the South Korean military immediately conducted a “precision strike” missile drill, demonstrating its ability to respond to North Korea’s actions with force.
This post will be updated as more information becomes available.
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