North Korea claims successful takeoff of ‘monster missile’ Hwasong-17

North Korea has declared that it successfully undertook its hugest intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) in a test on Thursday.

The Hwasong-17 was first revealed in 2020 at a parade where its colossal size surprised even seasoned analysts.

Thursday’s launch captioned the first time the country tested a ICBM since 2017.

The BBC reports that ICBMs are long-range missiles, capable of reaching the US.

North Korea is banned from testing them and has been heavily sanctioned for doing so in the past.

According to state media, leader Kim Jong-un directly guided Thursday’s test and the weapon was key to deterring nuclear war.

Ankit Panda from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace tagged the launch a “significant milestone” for North Korea’s nuclear arsenal.

“This test was long telegraphed and continues North Korea’s efforts to improve its nuclear deterrent,” he told the BBC.

Thursday’s missile launch was tracked by militaries in Japan and South Korea – Japanese officials said it flew to an altitude of 6,000 km (3,728 miles) and fell in Japanese waters after flying for more than an hour.

Why height matters graphic
Its altitude surpasses that of a previous missile – the Hwasong-15 – which reached an altitude of 4,500km (2,800 miles) in a series of tests carried out by North Korea in 2017.

Experts estimated the Hwasong-15, if it had been fired on a standard trajectory, could have travelled more than 13,000km (8,080 miles), placing any part of the continental United States within reach.

The new missile would be able to travel higher and further than this.

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