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North Korea missile launch: The most important things to know

North Korea broke a two-month lull in weapons testing with a dramatic launch of its most advanced missile yet, an intercontinental ballistic missile it claims can reach the « whole » US mainland.

The country’s state media declared the Hwasong-15 missile was « the most powerful ICBM » which carried a « super-large heavy warhead » to unprecedented heights of almost 4,500 kilometers (2,800 miles).
It was a dramatic show of force and technical capabilities from Pyongyang, which had not conducted any military tests since September 15, raising suggestions that perhaps the rogue country was heeding warnings to halt its provocations and cease its weapons program.

Key points

  • Hwasong-15 is a new type of intercontinental ballistic missile, upgrade of Hwasong-14
  • Fired 3 a.m. local time from mobile launcher in Pyongsong, South Pyongan Province
  • Reached a height of 4,475 kilometers (2,800 miles), higher than ever before
  • Splashed down off the Japanese coast, within the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone
  • South Korea responded with a « precision missile strike drill »

    Precursor to nuclear test?

    North Korea’s last test in September set off a firestorm of condemnation in the region and beyond, with multiple warnings from US President Donald Trump, including one issued during his stop in South Korea where he implored North Korea, « do not try us. »
    In recent days, US officials told CNN they were puzzled why there hadn’t been a test in recent weeks, and on Monday, Russia’s deputy foreign minister said Moscow greatly valued the North Korean regime’s « silence. »

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