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North Korean missile reached altitude of over 2,000 km — Japanese minister

May 14, 2017, 8:04 UTC+3 TOKYO

"There is a possibility that it was a new type of a missile," Defense Minister Tomomi Inada said

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© AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon

TOKYO, May 14. /TASS/. A missile test-fired by North Korea on Sunday morning reached the altitude of more than 2,000 kilometers and could be a new type of missile, Japanese Defense Minister Tomomi Inada said.

"The altitude of the missile’s flight topped 2,000 kilometers. There is a possibility that it was a new type of a missile," the Kyodo news agency quoted her as saying.

According to the Japanese government, a projectile of an unidentified type, believed to be a ballistic missile, was launched from the northwestern city of Kusong early on Sunday. The rocket covered about 800 kilometers and landed in the Sea of Japan, outside Japan’s exclusive economic zone. The previous missile launch from this territory was carried out in February.

The former commander of Japan’s Maritime Self Defense Force, Makoto Yamazaki, said that initial information points out that the missile was able to cover over 4,000 kilometers and hit targets at the Pacific island of Guam, a US island territory in Micronesia, in the Western Pacific.

"The missile covered the distance of about 800 kilometers within 30 minutes. Based on this information, we may conclude that it was fired at a steeper angle than usual, and the maximum altitude of its flight was about 1,500 kilometers. When launched at a regular angle, a rocket of this type can cover a distance of 4,000 kilometers," he said, adding that this distance was enough to hit Guam.

The Hawaii-based US Pacific Command, which had detected and assessed the missile launch, said earlier it had come to a conclusion that "the flight was not consistent with an intercontinental ballistic missile.".

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