North Korea successfully test-fired on 4 July what it claimed was its first intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).
The land-based missile, which was launched about 0939 h local time from a location near Panghyon Airfield in Kusong, in North Korea's northwestern North Pyongan Province, flew for about 40 minutes before falling into waters believed to be within Japan's exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in the Sea of Japan (also known as East Sea), according to US, Japanese, and South Korean authorities.
US Pacific Command said in a statement that it assessed the projectile as being an intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM).
However, Pyongyang's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) claimed that the missile fired was an ICBM called the Hwasong-14 that reached an altitude of 2,802 km and flew 933 km before hitting a target in the Sea of Japan, making this the longest-range ballistic missile tested by Pyongyang to date.
"The test launch [which was overseen by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un], was conducted at the sharpest angle possible and did not have any negative effect on neighbouring countries," stated the KCNA, claiming that Pyongyang now has the capability to strike "anywhere in the world".
"The success of the ICBM launch at its first trial is the final gateway to completing our nuclear force. It marked a phenomenal event in our history as we are pursuing the dual-track policy of nuclear and economic development," the state-run media outlet was later quoted by South Korea's Yonhap news agency as stating.
The North Korean data on the weapon's trajectory is similar to that provided by Japan's Ministry of Defense (MoD), which stated that the missile reached an altitude exceeding 2,500 km, and flew approximately 900 km.
The KCNA also released images showing the missile being carried by a 16-wheeled (8-axle) transport-erector-launcher (TEL) vehicle that is thought to be based on the Chinese Wanshan Special Vehicle WS51200.
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