North Korea said Monday that it has successfully test fired a solid-fuel ballistic missile a day before that can be harder for outsiders to detect before launch.
The official Korean Central News Agency confirmed Monday the missile launched on Sunday was a Pukguksong-2, a medium-to-long range ballistic missile also launched in February. The announcement comes a week after North tested an intermediate-range Hwasong-12 missile.
The rocket was fired near the county of Pukchang in South Phyongan province and flew eastward about 500 kilometers (310 miles), an official from South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said. Flown on a standard trajectory, this missile carrying the same payload would have a range of about 1,250 km (780 miles).
KCNA said the test was intended to verify technical indexes of the weapon system and examine its adaptability under various battle conditions before deployment to military units. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un ordered the launch from an observation post and approved its deployment after analyzing the results with officials and finding them perfect, the state news agency said.
The Pukguksong (Polaris)-2 is a land-based version of a submarine-launched missile. The missile advances North Korea's weapons capabilities because solid-fuel missiles can be fired faster and more secretly than those using liquid fuel, which much be added separately and transported to a launch site using trucks that can be seen by satellites.