TOKYO — North Korea on Sunday launched another missile, its ninth this year, in its latest show of defiance to the international community.

Despite repeated condemnations and warnings of additional sanctions, Kim Jong Un’s regime has been pressing ahead at a relentless pace to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile which would be capable of reaching the mainland United States.

Although analysts say the regime has several key technologies to master before it can deliver a nuclear-tipped missile to a target, they also point out that it inches closer to its goal with every test.

The latest launch was of a medium-range ballistic missile, fired from a site at Pukchang, north of Pyongyang, at 4:29 p.m. local time, according to U.S. Pacific Command and South Korea’s joint chiefs of staff.

It flew for about 310 miles, landing in the sea between the Korean Peninsula and Japan, they said.

“We are working with our interagency partners on a more detailed assessment,” a Pacific Command spokesman said. “We continue to monitor North Korea’s actions closely.”


But analysts said it appeared to be another launch of the missile fired in February – the first after President Trump took office.

That was a Pukguksong-2 (or Polaris-2), a land-based version of North Korea’s submarine-launched missile.

White House officials traveling with Trump in Saudi Arabia said they were aware of the launch. “This system, last tested in February, has a shorter range than the missiles launched in North Korea’s three most recent tests,” an official told reporters.

In Tokyo, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said North Korea’s repeated missile launches “trample on the efforts by the international community” to find a peaceful solution to the nuclear problem, the Kyodo news agency reported.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in convened a national security council meeting to discuss the latest launch.

The Pukguksong-2 launched in February also flew about 310 miles and appeared to be powered by solid fuel, which allows for immediate firing, rather than the more laborious process needed to prepare older-style liquid-fueled missiles for launch. North Korea can roll a solid-fuel missile out of a tunnel or hangar and launch it before satellites can track it.

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