North Korea tests banned intercontinental missile

NORTH Korea has tested a banned intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) for the first time since 2017, South Korea and Japan say.

Japanese officials estimated it flew 1,100 km (684 miles). It fell in Japanese waters after flying for more than an hour.

An ICBM can travel thousands of kilometres on a standard trajectory, and could theoretically reach the US.

North Korea has launched a flurry of missile tests in recent weeks.

The US and South Korea have said some of those tests, which Pyongyang claimed were satellite launches, were actually trials of parts of an ICBM system.

Thursday’s missile appeared to be newer and more powerful than the one North Korea fired five years ago, reaching an altitude of more than 6,000km, according to Japanese officials.

South Korea’s military responded with five missile tests of its own, from land, sea and air.

The United States and South Korea have warned in recent weeks that North Korea may be preparing to test-fire an ICBM at full range for the first time since 2017.

On 16 March, North Korea launched a suspected missile that appeared to explode shortly after lift-off over Pyongyang, South Korea’s military said.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in condemned the latest missile launch, calling it a “breach of the suspension of intercontinental ballistic missile launches promised by Chairman Kim Jong-un to the international community”, adding it was also in violation of UN sanctions.