North Korea said on Thursday that it successfully tested its greatest intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). The Hwasong-17 was initially shown at a parade in 2020, and even seasoned observers were taken aback by its massive size. The launch on Thursday was the country’s first ICBM test since 2017.
Long-range missiles capable of reaching the United States are known as ICBMs. The country is prohibited from testing them and has already been strongly sanctioned for doing so. According to state media, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un personally directed Thursday’s test, and the weapon was crucial in deterring nuclear war.
The launch was hailed as a “major milestone” for North Korea’s nuclear arsenal by Ankit Panda of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He told the BBC that the test was “long telegraphed” and that it “continues North Korea’s attempts to enhance its nuclear deterrence.”
Militaries in Japan and South Korea tracked the missile launch on Thursday; Japanese authorities claimed it travelled to an altitude of 6,000 kilometres (3,728 miles) and landed in Japanese seas after more than an hour of flight.
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