SEOUL – North Korean broadcaster KCTV confirmed on Wednesday Pyongyang test launched a new model of the Hwasong-15, an intercontinental ballistic missile that can carry a large nuclear warhead and hit targets in the United States.
Sticking to tradition, North Korea’s veteran newsreader Ri Chun-Hee made the announcement of the successful launch in a special bulletin.
Ri said with the latest launch, which was authorized and witnessed first-hand by the country’s leader, Kim Jong-un, the country has “finally realized the great historic cause of completing the state nuclear force.”
This is the first weapons test by Pyongyang in two and a half months and the missile flew 950 km (590 miles) and reached a height of 4,475 km (2780 miles), which matches the data released by Seoul, Washington and Tokyo.
This is the highest a North Korean missile has flown until date and indicates the steady advancement of the regime’s weapons program.
Given that the missile was fired at a lofted angle, some experts believe that the missile could have traveled over 13,000 km in a normal flight, which is sufficient to reach any part of continental US.
The missile, launched from a point, around 25 km north of the North Korean capital, flew east before falling into the Sea of Japan, around 250 km from the coast of Japan’s Aomori prefecture, part of its special economic zone, which extends approximately 370 km from the coast.