North Korea says it tested hypersonic missile

The weapon North Korea fired off its east coast on Tuesday morning was a newly-developed hypersonic missile, state media said, in the latest advance in weaponry for the nuclear-armed nation. State media said the new missile was one of the “five most important” new weapons systems laid out in its five-year military development plan. They called the missile a “strategic weapon”, which usually means it has nuclear capabilities.

Tuesday’s launch is another indication of Pyongyang’s growing weapons technology amid strict sanctions. “The development of this weapons system…[has increased] the nation’s capabilities for self-defence in every way,” North Korean state news outlet KCNA said. The latest launch also marked the country’s third missile test this month. It has already revealed a new type of cruise missile, as a well as a new train-launched ballistic missile system. North Korea has been steadily developing its weapons systems amid an impasse over talks aimed at dismantling its nuclear and ballistic missile arsenals in return for US sanctions relief. The state media reported that the launch met “all technical specifications”. The new North Korean missile was identified as Hwasong-8, although the reports say that Kim Jong-Un did not attend the launch, only top officials were present during the testing of the new missile. It said the missile, called Hwasong-8, performed to its technical targets “including the guiding manoeuvrability and the gliding flight characteristics of the detached hypersonic gliding warhead”. North Korea had fired a projectile on Tuesday into the sea off the east coast, South Korea’s military said the new missile was tested in the same area.