SEOUL: North Korea’s latest ballistic missile launch over Japan was only fired at half its range, according to South Korea’s defence ministry, the Yonhap news agency reported on Thursday (Aug 31).
The Hwasong-12 intermediate-range ballistic missile that was launched on Tuesday was fired at a regular angle and reached the maximum altitude of 550km.
However, it only travelled around 2,700km, whereas the missile’s full range is said to be between 4,500km and 5,000km said Yonhap.
The missile was launched from the Sunan airfield in Pyongyang on Tuesday morning towards Japan and entered the air space over Hokkaido, said the Japanese government.
This was Pyongyang’s 13th ballistic missile launch in 2017.
Yonhap cited the South Korean defence ministry as saying the latest launch was done to showcase Pyongyang’s improved nuclear capabilities and warned that North Korea could detonate a nuclear bomb any time at its Punggye-ri site.
The defence ministry added: “There’s a possibility of strategic provocations, including additional ballistic missile launches and a sixth nuclear test.”
US, Japan and the United Nations (UN) have condemned North Korea’s latest missile launch, but North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said Tuesday’s launch was merely a “curtain-raiser” and countermeasure against ongoing US-South Korea military exercises.