North Korea fires potential hypersonic missile towards sea, South Korea says

25 June 2024, 21:07 | Updated: 26 June 2024, 04:39

South Korea has said North Korea may have launched a hypersonic missile towards the North's east coast.

South Korea's joint chief of staffs said the launch on Wednesday morning originated from Pyongyang and appeared to fail before landing in the sea.

The country initially thought North Korea had launched a ballistic missile.

Japan's defence ministry said the missile had reached an altitude of about 100km (62 miles) and covered a range of more than 200km (124 miles) before falling outside the country's exclusive economic zone - an area of sea that a country claims the rights over to conduct economic activities.

No damage has been reported.

Earlier this week, North Korea criticised the deployment of US aircraft carrier, the Theodore Roosevelt, to take part in joint military drills with the South and Japan.

It warned of an "overwhelming, new demonstration of deterrence" as a result.

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol boarded the US aircraft carrier - the first sitting president to do so since 1994 - and claimed the countries alliance is the world's greatest, and can defeat any enemy.

Hypersonic weapons are considered the next generation of arms that aim to rob adversaries of reaction time and traditional defeat mechanisms.

North Korea has launched various missiles that it claims are hypersonic over the few years. In April, Kim Jong Un watched over a test of what the country said was a new hypersonic-intermediate range missile using solid fuel.

The missile launch came hours after South Korea said the North floated flying balloons - believed to be carrying rubbish - across the border for a second day in a row.

The balloons caused a three-hour delay at the country's Incheon international airport after one landed on the tarmac near one of the passenger terminals. Runways have since reopened.

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