North Korea fired a ballistic missile from Pyongyang’s Sunan area at around 6 AM today which flew some 2,700 kilometers reaching a height of 550 kilometers before falling into the northern Pacific Ocean.
The test reinforced Pyongyang's claim that it possess ballistic missiles that can strike US, Japanese and South Korean targets in the near and far Pacific Ocean.
The missile traveled over the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido, sparking panic and concern in Japan. Schools and offices were ordered shut and people rushed to missile shelters.
The test follows three others last week with flew a short distance before crashing into the sea prompting the US and South Korea to assert that the tests were a failure.
The South Korean military stated that the projectile was assessed to be the Hwasong-12, an intermediate-range ballistic missile successfully tested last May.
An unnamed South Korean official quoted by Korea Herald said, “We believe the provocation was to stage a show of force against the (ongoing) South Korea-US Ulchi Freedom Guardian exercise, show off its capability to strike US bases and create strategic circumstances that are in favor of themselves.”
In the May experiment, the Hwasong-12 was fired at a sharp angle, traveling around 780 kilometers and reaching a maximum altitude of 2,110 kilometers, which means its range may hover from 4,500-5,000 kilometers, the official speculated.
The South Korean Air Force (SKAF) responded by carrying out a live-bombing drill in Gangwon Province near the eastern inter-Korean frontier. Four F-15K fighters dropped eight 1-ton MK-84 bombs, precisely hitting the target designed as Pyongyang’s leadership, the SKAF said in a statement.