After accusing the U.S. of deploying spy planes in North Korean economic zone airspace, Kim Yo-jong, the sister of the country's leader Kim Jong-un, threatened ‘shocking’ consequences. Another missile test could hardly qualify as shocking given the DPRK's recent launch record, yet a missile launched in the direction of Japan on Wednesday would appear to be the country's initial response to the alleged aerial incursions.
Believed by experts to have been a road-mobile Hwasong-18 ICBM, the missile travelled about 1,000km and may be the latest example of a solid-fuel weapon test - utilizing a technology which makes launched harder to detect and intercept than liquid-fuel ICBMs.
Back in November, North Korea launched its most missiles in a single day, including one that landed further south than ever before and one which ended up just 60km off the South Korean coast. Previously, at the start of October and for the first time since 2017, North Korea fired a missile over Japan, prompting the government to issue an alert for some citizens to seek cover. According to reports, the missile travelled 4,500km, finally falling into the Pacific Ocean. With such a range, the missile tested would be able to strike the U.S. island of Guam if it was fired on another trajectory.
As this infographic shows, North Korean missile tests intensified greatly last year. They were already at a record high by June and only continued to increase further. As the data from the Nuclear Threat Initiative shows,