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Politics

North Korea claims intercontinental missile test

The missile test took place ahead of the US Independence Day celebration and the G20 political summit.

SKOREA-NKOREA-MISSILE-DIPLOMACY

A South Korean soldier watches television news showing file footage of a North Korean missile launch.

Jung Yeon-Je/AFP/Getty Images

North Korea has test-fired a ballistic missile that could take it a step closer to fielding long-range weapons.

This was North Korea's 13th missile test in 2017. Reuters reports claims by North Korean media that the launch was the country's first intercontinental ballistic missile.

The missile was fired at 9:40am from North Korea's Western coast and flew for 40 minutes towards Japan, landing in the Sea of Japan. The test was launched just before the US Independence Day holiday and this week's G20 political summit. 

Expert David Wright estimates such a long-range missile would be unable to hit mainland United States, but could potentially reach Alaska.

A new report concludes that although the total number of nuclear missiles in the world is declining, the rate of disarmament is slowing.