FAA orders ground stop for all west coast flights following North Korean hypersonic missile launch

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Update: FAA orders ground stop for all west coast flights following North Korean ballistic missile launch. The hold on departing aircraft lasted about 7 minutes, according to the Daily Mail.

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Dirk Godder

dpa

Seoul — North Korea on Tuesday carried out a new missile test, firing another projectile towards the sea, South Korea and Japan confirmed.

According to initial analyses by the South Korean military, the missile covered a distance of more than 700 kilometres during its most recent test flight before crashing into the Sea of Japan, known as the East Sea among Koreans.

It probably reached an altitude of 60 kilometres and ten times the speed of sound (Mach 10, or 12,348 km/h).

It was initially unclear whether a so-called hypersonic glider, which can be launched from a ballistic missile, was used. After a launch last week, North Korea had spoken of a successful second test of a hypersonic missile within four months.

Hypersonic missiles are particularly difficult to intercept because they can reach more than five times the speed of sound. They can be armed with conventional or nuclear weapons.

The South Korean military said it would analyse the latest missile test in greater detail in cooperation with US authorities.

The latest launch comes on the heels of a United Nations Security Council meeting held on Monday to discuss a North Korean test last week that Pyongyang said was a successful test-fire of a hypersonic missile.

Western members of the Security Council said that the missile testing poses a grave threat to regional security in East Asia.

Pyongyang’s provocations “increase the risk of miscalculation and escalation,” a joint statement by the United States, Britain, France, Ireland and Albania said along with Japan, which is not currently a member of the council.

“Each missile launch serves not only to advance [ North Korea’s] own capabilities, but to expand the suite of weapons available for export to its illicit arms clients and dealers around the world,” they said.

North Korea has for years worked on missiles capable of being equipped with nuclear warheads. The world has responded with sanctions that have done little to check ruler Kim Jong Un’s ambitions.

United Nations resolutions ban North Korea from testing missiles that could carry a nuclear warhead.

Negotiations between North Korea and the United States have not made any progress since a failed summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and then-US president Donald Trump in Vietnam in February 2019.

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