North Korea Tests Medium Range Ballistic Missile

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Note: Later information has revealed that the KN-17 refers to the Hwasong-12, not the Scud-variant as previously believed.

Reports indicate that on the morning of April 5, 2017, North Korea tested a medium range ballistic missile from Sinpo, in the South Hamgyong province of North Korea. Although initial intel says that the missile was a KN-15 (Pukkuksong-2), further reporting suggests that it may have been a SCUD variant that “pinwheeled” out of control. Due to the preliminary nature of the results, US officials have decided to maintain the initial assessment until more data can be examined. Cmdr. Dave Brenham, spokesman for USPACOM, said that the missile flew a distance of 60 km and reached a height of 189 km before landing into the Sea of Japan after 9 minutes of flight time. U.S. officials said that the latest missile launch was solid fueled and fired from a mobile launcher.

This test came days before President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping’s first meeting, and several days after President Trump said that the United States would act unilaterally against North Korea if needed. When discussing the upcoming meeting, one of Trump’s senior officials also commented that “the clock has now run out [regarding North Korea] and all options are on the table for us.”

In response to the recent test-launch, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson released the following statement: “North Korea launched yet another intermediate range ballistic missile. The United States has spoken enough about North Korea. We have no further comment.”