North Korea confirmed it had fired its most powerful missile since 2017, capping a month-long blitz of launches that have raised the spectre of leader Kim Jong Un restaring nuclear tests.
Pyongyang conducted a record seven weapons tests in January, the most ever in a calendar month, as it threatened to abandon a self-imposed moratorium on launching long-range and nuclear weapons, blaming US “hostile” policy for forcing its hand.
North Korean state media said that the country has test-fired a Hwasong-12 intermediate-range ballistic missile, last launched in 2017, which is powerful enough to put the US territory of Guam in range.
The test “confirmed the accuracy, security and effectiveness of the operation of the Hwasong 12-type weapon system under production,” said the official Korean Central News Agency on Monday.
The test was conducted in a manner that ensured the “security of neighbouring countries,” said KCNA.
South Korea said the Sunday test was of an “intermediate-range ballistic missile” that flew around 800 kilometres and reached a maximum altitude of 2,000 kilometres.
With the launch, Pyongyang has come “come close to destroying the moratorium declaration,” said South Korean President Moon Jae-In after an emergency National Security Council meeting Sunday.