North Korea has conducted back-to-back tests of a mid-range ballistic missile from its eastern coast, South Korean officials say.
One test of the powerful Musudan intermediate-range missile made considerable improvements in flight distance and altitude over previous failed launches, but still fell well short of the missile’s projected range.
Yesterday’s tests marked Pyongyang’s fifth and sixth attempt since April to successfully launch its Musudan missile.
“South Korean defense officials didn’t want to label it as either a success or a failure, but that does appear to be the most effective test of this Musadan intermediate-range missile so far even though it did fall far short of its expected range,” said Al Jazeera.
The first five launches failed, either exploding in midair or crashing, and the sixth only flew about 400km – well short of the missile’s 3,500-km potential and not long enough to be classified as intermediate.
One of the missiles launched yesterday reached an altitude of more than 1,000km, displaying marked progress in comparison with previous attempts, Japan’s Defence Minister said yesterday.
“We don’t know whether it counts as a success, but North Korea has shown some capability with IRBMs,” Gen Nakatani told reporters in Tokyo.
The ongoing tests, apparently linked to an order made by North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un in March, show the North’s determination to pursue its goal of a nuclear missile programme capable of threatening the United States mainland.
Despite the repeated failures, North Korea’s persistence in testing the Musudan missile has worried Washington and its allies, Tokyo and Seoul. The missile’s range puts a large part of Asia and the Pacific, including U..S military bases, within reach.
Culled from: http://guardian.ng/news/north-korea-gets-positive-result-from-musudan-ballistic-missiles-test-fire/