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CBRN Assessment

North Korea claims second ICBM test launch shows all of US is within range

31 July 2017
North Korea test-fired a Hwasong-14 ICBM on 28 July that reached an altitude of 3,724.9 km and flew a linear distance of 998 km before coming down, according to the KCNA. Source: KCNA

North Korea test-fired a second intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) on 28 July, claiming that the test verified that the entire United States is now within range of its missiles.

The land-based ICBM, which was launched from an area near Mupyong-ni in north-central Chagang Province at around 23:41 h local time, flew for about 47 minutes before falling into waters believed to be within Japan's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in the Sea of Japan (also known as the East Sea), according to US, Japanese, and South Korean authorities.

North Korea said that its 28 July test launch of a Hwasong-14 was meant to demonstrate the weapon system’s maximum range and send a warning to the United States. (KCNA)North Korea said that its 28 July test launch of a Hwasong-14 was meant to demonstrate the weapon system’s maximum range and send a warning to the United States. (KCNA)

Pyongyang's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) stated the following day that the missile fired had been a Hwasong-14 that reached an altitude of 3,724.9 km and flew a linear distance of 998 km before coming down, making this the longest-range ballistic missile tested by Pyongyang to date.

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 3,500 km and travelled a distance of about 1,000 km.

The KCNA reported that the launch, which was conducted at a steep angle, was ordered by North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un to demonstrate the weapon system’s maximum range and send a warning to the United States.

Moreover, it was aimed to “finally confirm the overall technological specifications of the weapon system of [the] Hwasong-14, [which is] capable of carrying [a] large-sized heavy nuclear warhead”, according to the state-run media outlet.

While the KCNA did not reveal any details about the payload of the tested missile, it quoted Kim as saying that the latest launch demonstrated his country’s capability to launch a surprise missile attack “in any region and place any time”.

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