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“The flight distance was about 500 kilometres, and South Korea and the United States are conducting a close-up analysis on additional information,” South Korea’s Office of Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement.
“US Strategic Command systems detected and tracked what we assess was a North Korean missile launch at 4:55 p.m. CST...The missile was tracked over North Korea and into the Sea of Japan,” the Pentagon said as quoted by Reuters. It added that the launch never posed a threat to the US, calling the projectile “a medium- or intermediate-range ballistic missile.”
South Korean military earlier said that the missile “appears not be an ICBM in terms of range,” as cited by Yonhap news agency. Kim Jong Un said Pyongyang was preparing to test a new intercontinental ballistic missile in his New Year speech.
The suspected missile type is Hwasong-10, or Musudan intermediate-range ballistic missile, which has a range of 3,000 kilometers.
“Our assessment is that it is part of a show of force in response to the new US administration’s hardline position against the North,” the military said.