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Kim Jong Un directed the launch of the intercontinental ballistic missile

(CNN) — North Korea’s state media, KCNA, reports that a test launch of the new Hwasong-17 intercontinental ballistic missile was carried out on Thursday.

KCNA says that on March 23, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un issued a handwritten order to test launch a new ICBM.

Credit: Rodong Sinmun

Kim Jong Un directly led the test launch process on the 24th, according to the report. It is the first North Korean ICBM launch since 2017.

Credit: Rodong Sinmun

“The Hwasong-17, an intercontinental ballistic missile launched from Pyongyang International Airport, had a maximum altitude of 6,248.5 km, flew 1,090 km for 4,052 s, and landed accurately in the intended waters” between the Korean peninsula and Japan, KCNA reported.

Thursday’s launch is North Korea’s 11th of the year, including one on March 16 that is presumed to have failed. Analysts said the test could be the longest-range missile fired so far by North Korea, surpassing its last ICBM launch in November 2017.

Japanese Vice Defense Minister Makoto Oniki told reporters Thursday that the missile’s altitude would suggest it is a “new type of ICBM,” a potential sign that North Korea is closer to developing weapons capable of targeting United States.

Credit: Rodong Sinmun

The United States joined allies South Korea and Japan in strongly condemning the launch on Thursday and called on North Korea to refrain from further destabilizing acts.

US President Joe Biden is currently in Belgium, where he is attending a G7 summit together with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. The meeting is part of a series of gatherings, including an extraordinary NATO summit, at which Western leaders seek to align their responses to Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine.

Yoonjung Seo, Gawon Bae, Emiko Jozuka, and Brad Lendon contributed to this report.

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