(AP/CNN) -- A suspected ballistic missile launched by North Korea on Tuesday was more advanced than the missile Pyongyang tested last week, reaching a velocity of more than 10 times the speed of sound, South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement.
Tuesday's projectile was launched from Jangang province, near the North Korean border with China and landed in the ocean between the Korean Peninsula and Japan, its flight covering a distance of more than 700 kilometers (435 miles) and reaching a height of 60 kilometers (37 miles), the statement said.
North Korea said Wednesday that it successfully test-fired a hypersonic missile, according to North Korean state media, making it the third alleged test of such a weapon by the Kim Jong Un regime. Kim attended the launch, state media reported.
Assessment of the test by South Korean and United States intelligence was ongoing, but initial analysis showed Tuesday's test, in which the projectile reached a speed of Mach 10 was of a more advanced weapon than the test North Korea conducted last Thursday, the South Korean Joint Chiefs said.
That test was also of what North Korean state media claimed was a hypersonic missile. However, many experts doubted this claim.
A hypersonic missile actually refers to the payload that a rocket carries aloft. In this case, that payload could be what is called a hypersonic glide vehicle (HGV).
An HGV can theoretically fly as fast as 20 times the speed of sound and can be very maneuverable in flight, making it almost impossible to shoot down, according to experts.
But a South Korean government statement Tuesday said, "Our military has the ability to detect and intercept this projectile, and we are continuously strengthening our response system."
South Korea "expressed a strong regret over the North's launch, which took place at a time when political stability is very important."
A statement from US Forces Korea said the test posed no threat to US or South Korean territory or military personnel, but "the missile launch highlights the destabilizing impact of (North Korea's) illicit weapons program."
Still, the launch corresponded with an order issued to ground some flights on the U.S. West Coast.
Air-traffic controllers in other West Coast areas similarly ordered aircraft down, according to recordings shared online. A San Francisco air traffic controller ordered flights to avoid its airspace and not take off or land around the time without explaining why, according to a recording by the website LiveATC.net.
"Things are changing really quick," the air traffic controller said in the recording, adding later: "I just heard something about ground-stopping all aircraft, so I don't know anything, just hold tight there."
North Korea has not released any information about Tuesday's launch. Last week, North Korean state media gave details 24 hours after the test.
Tuesday's test covered about the same distance at last week's, 700 kilometers (435 miles), and the missile fell into the sea outside of Japan's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), according to Japan's Defense Ministry.
Pyongyang is barred from testing ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons under international law.
The US on Wednesday announced sanctions on eight North Korean and Russian individuals and entities for supporting North Korea's ballistic missile programs, imposing the punishments after Tuesday's missile test.
"Today's actions, part of the United States' ongoing efforts to counter (North Korea's) weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs, target its continued use of overseas representatives to illegally procure goods for weapons," Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian E. Nelson said in a statement.
North Korea's "latest missile launches are further evidence that it continues to advance prohibited programs despite the international community's calls for diplomacy and denuclearization," he added.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement later Wednesday that in addition to the individuals and entities that the Treasury Department had imposed sanctions on, his department was placing sanctions on "one (North Korean) individual, one Russian individual, and one Russian entity that have engaged in activities or transactions that have materially contributed to the proliferation of (weapons of mass destruction) or their means of delivery by (North Korea)."
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