Russia says N Korea missile appeared to be ‘medium-range’

Moscow: A missile fired by North Korea on Friday appeared to be a “medium-range” weapon, the Russian military said, as the US asserted Pyongyang had launched a second ICBM.

In a statement cited by Russian agencies the defence ministry in Moscow said that according to flight parameters detected by its warning systems the “characteristics were those of a medium-range ballistic missile”.

It reached an altitude of 681 kilometres and flew for 732 kilometres before crashing down into the Sea of Japan without posing any threat to Russia, the statement said.

A little earlier, the US military announced that the latest rocket launch was an intercontinental ballistic, which would make it the second time that Pyongyang has fired an ICBM.

A first ICBM test on July 4 triggered global alarm, with experts saying the missile had a theoretical range that could reach Alaska. Russia which has warm diplomatic ties with North Korea also claimed that missile was “medium-range”, despite assertions by both Pyongyang and Washington.

Russia has teamed up with North Korea’s main backer China to push an initiative that would see North Korea halt missile tests in return for the US ending military drills in the region.