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Suspected North Korea missile test hit speed of Mach 10, more advanced than previous test, Seoul says

On Tuesday, North Korea launched a suspected ballistic missile that was more advanced than the missile it tested last week. The missile reportedly reached a velocity of more than 10 times the speed of sound. South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff gave a statement addressing the missile tests, reporting that the projectile was launched from the Jangang province near the North Korean border with China. The missile landed in the ocean between the Korean Peninsula and Japan. Its flight covered a distance of more than 700 kilometers and reached a height of 60 kilometers, said South Korea. Although an assessment of the test remains ongoing, initial analysis confirmed that the projectile launched on Tuesday is a more advanced version of the one tested by Pyongyang last Thursday.

North Korean state media claimed that the missile was a hypersonic missile. If so, Tuesday’s test would mark the second alleged test of such a weapon under the Kim Jong Un regime. Hypersonic missiles can fly as fast as 20 times the speed of sound and can be easily maneuvered during flight, making it nearly impossible to shoot down. However, experts and security personnel are not convinced that the missiles tested were hypersonic. The US Forces Korea stated that although the tests posed no threat to US or South Korean military personnel, the missile launch highlights how North Korea’s illicit weapons program can have a destabilizing impact on the region.

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