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North Korea conducts another missile test

North Korea launched what appeared to be a short-range missile into the East Sea (also known as Sea of Japan) on 28 September, just over two weeks after the country had tested a new railway-based launch system for short-range ballistic missiles (SRBMs) and a new long-range cruise missile.

South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said in a statement that the weapon was fired from North Korea's Mupyong-ri, in Jagang (also spelled Chagang) Province in an eastwardly direction at around 0640 h (local time), adding South Korean and US intelligence authorities are analysing the launch.

The JCS provided no information about the distance travelled by the missile or its altitude, but the Yonhap News Agency quoted unnamed sources in Seoul as saying that it flew less than 200 km while reaching an altitude of about 60 km, pointing out that this weapon showed “different flight features” from the missiles previously tested by the North.

Authorities in Tokyo were quoted as saying that the missile is believed to have fallen in waters outside Japan's Exclusive Economic Zone, while Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said that the weapon appears to have been a ballistic missile.

The US Indo-Pacific Command said the launch did not pose an immediate threat to US personnel, territory, or to US allies, but noted that this “highlights the destabilising impact of the DPRK's [Democratic People's Republic of Korea's] illicit weapons programme”.

The latest developments come after Pyongyang test-launched what appeared to be a modified variant of its KN-23 (US/South Korean designation) SRBM from a railway-based launch system on 15 September.

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