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North Korea confirms test firing of another Hwasong-18 missile

People watch a television screen showing a news broadcast with file footage of a North Korean missile test, at a railway station in Seoul on 12 July. North Korea fired a Hwasong-18 ICBM earlier that day. (Jung Yeon-Je/AFP via Getty Images)

North Korea has confirmed that the missile it fired on 12 July was a Hwasong-18 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), marking another milestone in the country's strategic weapons capabilities.

The confirmation was provided by state-owned Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in a statement published on its website on 13 July. Accompanying the statement was an image of the missile being launched from a transporter-erector-launcher (TEL) with at least nine axles.

The missile flew for 4,491 seconds covering a distance of 1,001.2 km before splashing into the waters of the Sea of Japan (East Sea), according to details provided in the KCNA statement. The weapon also reached a maximum altitude of 6,648.4 km during the test.

These details are similar to the information released by the Japan Ministry of Defense (MoD) on 12 July, which stated that the missile is estimated to have flown for about 74 minutes while covering a distance of 1,000 km and reaching a maximum altitude in excess of 6,000 km.

The Japan MoD had said earlier the missile was fired from the outskirts of Pyongyang on the morning of 12 July and it landed about 250 km west of Okushiri Island near Hokkaido outside of Tokyo's exclusive economic zone (EEZ) at around 1113 h local time.

“The test firing was carried out to confirm the technical credibility and operational reliability of the new ICBM weapon system,” read the KCNA statement. It further disclosed that the exercise was attended by Kim Jong-un, North Korean leader, underlining the weapon's significance.

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