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North Korea claims to have fired a second hypersonic missile

North Korea claims that the projectile it launched on 5 January into the Sea of Japan (East Sea) was a hypersonic missile.

The country's state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported the day after that the launch was conducted by Pyongyang's Academy of Defence Science.

Upon detaching from its rocket booster, the weapon's glide vehicle manoeuvred 120 km laterally before hitting the intended target that was located about 700 km away without any errors, according to the KCNA report.

The flight test also validated other components of the weapon system including flight control systems, and its ability to operate in winter conditions, the report added.

“The incremental progress observed with the hypersonic missile programme is strategically significant in modernising the national armed forces as outlined at the 8th Party Congress,” the report said, in reference to the meeting of senior Workers' Party of Korea leaders in January 2021.

In that meeting, the hypersonic missile programme was identified as one of the top five priorities for the country's strategic weapons sector under a five-year plan for the development of defence science and weapon systems.

This is the second time that North Korea has claimed to have test-launched a hypersonic missile.

In September 2021 KCNA reported that the country had launched a newly developed ‘hypersonic' missile known as Hwaseong-8.

The latest launch on 5 January was detected by several countries including Japan and South Korea. The Japanese Ministry of Defense estimated on the same day that the missile flew about 500 km before falling into waters outside Tokyo's exclusive economic zone.

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