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N. Korea claims successful launch of new intermediate-range hypersonic missile

TOKYO, April 3 (KUNA) -- North Korea claimed on Wednesday it successfully test-fired a new intermediate-range ballistic missile tipped with a hypersonic warhead on the previous day, state media reported. The test-fire was aimed at confirming the designed technical specifications of the new-type intermediate-range hypersonic missile as a whole and verifying the reliability of this weapon system, according to the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). North Korean leader Kim Jong-un guided the testing of the Hwasong-16 missile on Tuesday, which was launched from an army unit's training field in a suburb of Pyongyang, according to the KCNA. Expressing great satisfaction over the result of the test-fire, Kim said his country perfected the project for "putting all the tactical, operational and strategic missiles with various ranges on solid-fueled, warhead-controlled and nuclear warhead-carrying basis." Referring to the military confrontational acts against North Korea by "the enemies," Kim said "It is the most urgent task at present for our state to develop an overwhelming power capable of containing and controlling the enemies He continued "that our defense science sector should continuously bring bigger successes, remaining more faithful to its historic duty to steadily improve the strongest national defense capacity." The KCNA said that the missile reached its first peak at a height of 101.1 km and the second at 72.3 km while making 1 000-km-long flight as scheduled and accurately landed on the waters of the East Sea (Sea of Japan). The test-fire had no negative effect on the security of the neighboring countries, the news agency added.
The South Korean military said on Tuesday it detected the firing of an intermediate-range ballistic missile from the Pyongyang region and the missile flew about 600 km before falling into the East Sea, according to Yonhap News Agency. The latest launch came about three months after North Korea test-fired an intermediate-range hypersonic missile on Jan. 14. Last month, the North conducted a ground jet test of a solid-fuel engine for a new IRBM loaded with a hypersonic warhead. Kim described the Hwasong-16 missile as a "powerful, strategic offensive weapon." (end) mk.sm