North Korea launches ballistic missile into Sea of Japan

05 Apr 2017 | Written by Abheet Sethi; Edited by Ramya

Nuclear-armed North Korea has test-fired a ballistic missile into the Sea of Japan.

The US military said the missile appears to be a nuclear-capable KN-15 medium-range ballistic missile.

South Korea's military said it flew around 60km.

The launch comes ahead of Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to the US to meet President Donald Trump. Both leaders will discuss North Korea's nuclear and missile programs.

In context: North Korea launches ballistic-missile into Sea of Japan

IntroductionAbout North Korea and its nuclear programs

For over decades now, North Korea has been the most secretive country; its nuclear weapons program has its roots in the 1950s.

It is believed that the country possesses over 1,000 missiles of different capabilities, including long-range ones that could strike the US.

The country's nuclear program progressed over decades; from tactical artillery rockets during the 1960-70s to the present day's nuclear warheads.

5 testsNuclear weapon tests in North Korea

In October 2006, North Korea conducted its first nuclear weapon test, yield: 1 kilotonne.

In May 2009, a second nuclear device was detonated, yield: 5 kilotonnes

In February 2013, the third nuclear test was conducted, yield: 6-7 kilotonnes.

On January 6, 2016, North Korea claimed it conducted its first thermonuclear test.

On September 9, 2016, the fifth test was conducted, yield: 10 kilotonnes.

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Frequent testsNorth Korea's ballistic missile tests in 2017

On February 12, 2017, North Korea test-fired a ballistic missile which travelled around 500km into the Sea of Japan.

On March 6, 2017, Japan said North Korea fired four ballistic missiles, of which, three landed in its exclusive economic zone.

On March 22, 2017, North Korea fired a missile from its east coast that exploded seconds after being launched.

05 Apr 2017North Korea launches ballistic missile into Sea of Japan

CondemnationUS and its allies condemn ballistic missile test

The US gave a terse response unlike its usual diplomatic condemnations. "The United States has spoken enough about North Korea. We have no further comment," it said.

Japan dubbed the launch "provocative" while South Korea said it poses a "a blunt challenge" to the UN and "a threat to the peace and safety of the international community as well as the Korean peninsula."

11 Apr 2017North Korea lashes out against America's air craft carrier deployment

North Korea has responded to the US' decision to deploy a naval aircraft carrier strike group to the Korean peninsula by saying it would defend itself "by powerful force of arms."

It said the deployment demonstrated that the US' "reckless moves for invading" had "reached a serious phase."

US President Donald Trump had ordered the deployment in response to the North's recent ballistic missile test.

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13 Apr 2017NKorea reportedly prepping for sixth nuclear test

NKorea is reportedly preparing for a nuclear test at the Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site, which is "primed and ready".

Satellite imagery has shown "continued activity around the North Portal, new activity in the Main Administrative Area, and personnel around the site's Command Center".

Speculation is rife that NKorea could be planning a missile launch, its sixth, on the birth anniversary of founder Kim II-sung.