Date
17 December 2017
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un waves to North Korean scientists and technicians in this undated photo released by the Korean Central News Agency. Photo: Reuters
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un waves to North Korean scientists and technicians in this undated photo released by the Korean Central News Agency. Photo: Reuters

North Korea tests intermediate ballistic missile

North Korea said on Monday it has successfully tested an intermediate-range ballistic missile to confirm the reliability of the late-stage guidance of the nuclear warhead, indicating further advances in the ability to hit US targets, Reuters reports.

The North’s KCNA news agency said leader Kim Jong-un supervised the test which also verified the functioning of the solid-fuel engine for the Pukguksong-2 missile and ordered it for deployment in field action.

North Korea has defied all calls to rein in its nuclear and missile programs, even from China, its lone major ally, saying the weapons are needed for legitimate self-defense. The North last conducted a ballistic missile test a week ago.

“Saying with pride that the missile’s rate of hits is very accurate and Pukguksong-2 is a successful strategic weapon, he approved the deployment of this weapon system for action,” KCNA said, quoting leader Kim Jong-un.

The launch verified the reliability and accuracy of the solid-fuel engine’s operation and stage separation and the late-stage guidance of the nuclear warhead which was recorded by a device mounted on the warhead, KCNA said.

“Viewing the images of the Earth being sent real-time from the camera mounted on the ballistic missile, Supreme leader Kim Jong-un said it feels grand to look at the Earth from the rocket we launched and the entire world looks so beautiful,” KCNA said.

The missile flew about 500 kilometers (310.69 miles), reaching an altitude of 560 km, and landed in waters off the North’s east coast, South Korea’s military said on Sunday.

The reclusive state has been working to develop a nuclear-tipped missile capable of striking the US mainland. On Saturday, it said it had developed the capability to strike the US mainland, although Western missile experts say the claim is exaggerated.

On Monday, KCNA said the latest test follows the successful test last week of another missile that has put Hawaii and Alaska within range.

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