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Context: North Korea said it test fired its massive new Hwasong-17 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), in what analysts said may be the first successful launch of the system after doubts were raised about earlier claims.
- The Hwasong-17 is nuclear-armed North Korea’s biggest missile yet, and is the largest road-mobile, liquid-fuelled ICBM in the world.
- Its diameter is estimated to be between 2.4 and 2.5 metres, and its total mass, when fully fuelled, is likely somewhere between 80,000 and 110,000 kg, according to 38 North, a U.S.-based programme that monitors North Korea.
- Unlike North Korea’s earlier ICBMs, the Hwasong-17 is launched directly from a transporter, erector, launcher (TEL) vehicle with 11 axles.
- Japanese Defence Minister Yasukazu Hamada said the weapon could travel as far as 15,000 km, enough to reach the continental United States.
- North Korea has made preparations to resume nuclear testing for the first time since 2017, South Korea and the United States say, and officials say new tests could help develop warheads for MIRV systems.