N.Korea says it successfully test-fired new solid-fuel hypersonic missile

North Korea says it successfully test-fired a new solid-fuel intermediate-range ballistic missile loaded with a warhead that can glide at hypersonic speed.

The country's ruling Workers' Party newspaper, Rodong Sinmun, reported on Wednesday that the first test-firing of a Hwasongpho-16B had been carried out on the previous day on the outskirts of Pyongyang. It noted that leader Kim Jong Un was present.

The paper also said the separated warhead flew 1,000 kilometers in irregular trajectories as planned, and accurately hit the waters of the Sea of Japan.

Kim suggested that the country was able to successfully implement the Party Central Committee's "three principles of building missile armed force for rapidly, accurately and powerfully striking any target in the enemy side worldwide by perfecting all the tactical, operational and strategic missiles with various ranges on solid-fueled, warhead-controlled and nuclear warhead-carrying basis."

North Korea is expediting efforts to develop a hypersonic missile, which is said to be difficult to detect or intercept, as its separated warhead can glide low, and at irregular trajectories at a speed of more than five times the sonic speed.

The country apparently wants to keep Japan, the United States and South Korea in check by demonstrating that it is in the process of replacing liquid-fuel intermediate ballistic missiles with solid-fuel types.

The US forces' strategic bases, such as those on Guam, could be within the firing range of an intermediate ballistic missile.

The South Korean military said on Tuesday that North Korea had fired what appeared to be an intermediate-range ballistic missile from a site near Pyongyang and that it had flown more than 600 kilometers.