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TOKYO, June 22. /TASS/. The ballistic missile launched by North Korea at 08:03, local time (02:03, Moscow time) on Wednesday, reached an altitude over 1,000 km, the Japanese Defense ministry reported, according to Kyodo news agency. The military experts say it was an intermediate-range missile code-named Musudan.
"North Korea launched what appeared to be two Musudan intermediate-range ballistic missiles from its east coast Wednesday morning in violation of UN resolutions, and both were believed to have fallen into the Sea of Japan. The second missile, launched shortly after 8 am, flew about 400 kilometers and reached an altitude of over 1,000 km, showing that it can function to a certain degree as an IRBM, Japanese Defense Minister Gen Nakatani said, Kyodo reported.
"This poses serious concern to our country's security," Nakatani told reporters in Tokyo, while adding that there is no "immediate" danger as there are no signs that either of the missiles reached Japanese territory. The first missile was launched eastward from near Wonsan just before 6 am, South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said. It reportedly flew about 150 km before breaking up mid-air. The South Korean and US militaries indicated that the first launch was presumed to be unsuccessful, but it was not immediately known whether or not the second launch was considered successful, the agency said.
According to Western experts, the Musudan missiles are developed in North Korea based on the Soviet technology of the late 60-ies of the last century. According to unconfirmed assessments, Musudan resembles the R-27 Soviet single-stage liquid-propellant missile. It is believed that Musudan is designed to create a strategic threat to the Japanese island of Okinawa to America’s Guam where the US major military bases are located.
A Musudan missile has an estimated range of between 2,500 and 4,000 kilometers, which would cover not only any target in South Korea or Japan, but also potentially US military facilities on the Pacific island of Guam. In April and May, North Korea launched a total of four projectiles suspected to be Musudan missiles, amid escalating tensions over its aggressive pursuit of nuclear and missile technologies, but failed in every attempt. North Korea is banned from conducting launches using ballistic missile technology under multiple UN Security Council resolutions, Kyodo reported The country has been ratcheting up tensions, especially since the Security Council's endorsement on March 2 of tougher sanctions against it.