North Korea launched a medium-range Ballistic Missile on Sunday, making it the second in just a week. The test was carried out in the waters off its east coast. The US, Japanese and South Korean authorities said. South Korea swiftly responded by describing the launch as “reckless and irresponsible," and admonished that the rocket flew around 500 kilometers near the Puckchang province of North Korea.

International reaction

According to Tomomi Inada, Japanese Defense Minister, the missile travelled a distance of about 350 kilometers, which is approximately 217 miles.

The missile did not fly more than 1,000 kilometers, it went off in the waters east of North Korea, she said. Pyongyang carried out its most advanced missile launch a week earlier, which analyst described as the country’s most successful ever in its bid to acquire ballistic missile capable of carrying warheads.

The test conducted on May 14 reached an altitude of more than 2100 kilometers, approximately 1300 miles, according to reports by the DPRK. Experts are of the opinion that the test proved that North Korea are on the verge of developing a re-entry vehicle for nuclear warheads, and also indicate that Pyongyang has the capability of launching a ballistic missile that could reach the US military base on Guam.

Preparation for development of ICBM

The recent test carried out by the North is a medium-range ballistic missile, similar to the ones carried out in February, according to a statement by a White House official. Experts believes that North Korea’s latest test may be about to provide the necessary information that will make it possible for the country to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile that could strike the US mainland.

Melissa Hanham of the James Martin Center of Nonproliferation Studies said it could be a foundation for a longer range missile. “This could be half or even a third of an ICBM,” she added, saying that missiles of such capability are built in stages of two or three stacked on top of each other.

Fear of nuclear threat

There has been a weekly nuclear test by Pyongyang since the inauguration of the newly elected President of South Korea, Moon Jae-in, who has repeatedly called for a roundtable dialogue with the North in a bid to resolve the nuclear proliferation and tension in the region.

This is reckless and irresponsible behavior by North Korea, which amounts to truncating the peace movement of the new government and the global community for non-proliferation and denuclearization, according to a statement from the South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs.