North Korea has claimed that it successfully tested a new hypersonic missile called Hwasong-8 on September 28.
According to state media, the new missile was one of the “five most important” new weapons systems laid out in its five-year military development plan.
The North Koreans called the missile a “strategic weapon”, which usually means it has nuclear capabilities.
The launch is another indication of Pyongyang’s growing weapons technology amid strict sanctions.
“The development of this weapons system…[has increased] the nation’s capabilities for self-defense in every way,” North Korean state news outlet KCNA said.
The latest launch also saw North Korea introducing missile fuel ampoule for the first time.
This is a technology that allows missiles to be pre-fuelled and then sent to the field in canisters. This means it could potentially stay launch-ready for years.
The launch also marked North Korea’s third missile test this month. It has already revealed a new type of cruise missile, as a well as a new train-launched ballistic missile system.
The event came as its North Korean envoy Kim Song defended his country’s right to develop weapons at the annual UN General Assembly in New York.
Kim Song said North Korea was “building up our national defense in order to defend ourselves and reliably safeguard the security and peace of the country”.
Hypersonic missiles are much faster and more agile than normal ones, making them much harder for missile defense systems to intercept.
North Korea joins a small pool of countries, including the US, Russia, China and India, in attempting to develop the weapons. In July, Russia announced that it had successfully launched a hypersonic missile which reached a speed of 8659.88km/h (5381mph) from a frigate in the White Sea.
KCNA said the test launch confirmed the “navigational control and stability of the missile”.