S.Korea says North fired intermediate-range ballistic missile

The South Korean military says North Korea fired what appeared to be an intermediate-range ballistic missile early on Tuesday.

South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff announced that the North launched the missile at around 6:53 a.m. from a site near Pyongyang toward waters off the east coast, and that the missile flew more than 600 kilometers.

The South Korean military says it is closely working with the United States and Japan to collect and analyze data.

South Korean military sources say they believe the launch was related to a test on March 19 of a solid-fuel engine for a new-type of intermediate-range hypersonic missile. Pyongyang said the test was successful.

Tuesday's ballistic missile launch was Pyongyang's third this year. The previous one was on March 18, when it conducted firing drills involving short-range ballistic missiles, which it refers to as "super-large multiple rocket launchers."

In January, North Korea announced it had successfully test-fired a solid-fuel intermediate-range ballistic missile with a warhead that can glide at a hypersonic speed. A solid-fuel missile can be fired more quickly than those using liquid propellants.

The South Korean military estimates the missile flew about 1,000 kilometers.

South Korean experts say the latest launch may have been the test-firing of a hypersonic missile. They say hypersonic missiles fired by the North in January 2022 traveled between 500 and 1,000 kilometers.