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Seoul: N. Korea fires intermediate-range ballistic missile into sea

TOKYO, April 2 (KUNA) -- North Korea fired what appeared to be an intermediate-range ballistic missile into the East Sea (Sea of Japan) on Tuesday, Seoul's military said, according to Yonhap News Agency.
The Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said it detected a missile presumed to be intermediate-range class fired from the Pyongyang region at 6:53 a.m. (2153 Monday GMT) and the missile flew about 600 km before landing into the sea.
"While strengthening our monitoring and vigilance, our military has been closely coordinating with the US to monitor additional signs of North Korea's provocations," the JCS said.
The military said the North may have test-fired an intermediate-range missile equipped with a hypersonic warhead to test the performance of its delivery system following an engine test last month, according to the report.
On March 20, Pyongyang said it successfully conducted a ground jet test of a solid-fuel engine for a new type of intermediate hypersonic missile. "(We) assess the (latest launch) is connected to the solid-fuel ground test that North Korea made public in March," the JCS spokesman Col. Lee Sung-jun was quoted as saying at a press briefing in Seoul.
Hypersonic missiles travel at a speed of at least Mach 5 -- five times the speed of sound -- and are designed to be maneuverable on unpredictable flight paths and fly at low altitudes. Tuesday's launch marks North Korea's third ballistic missile launch this year. (end) mk.rk