UPDATE 1-N.Korea says tested Hwasong-12 missile on Sunday

(Adds details, quotes and background)

SEOUL, Jan 31 (Reuters) – North Korea said on Monday it had tested a Hwasong-12 “mid-range ballistic missile” on Sunday, according to state news agency KCNA, the first time a missile of that size has been launched since 2017.

The launch was first reported by South Korean and Japanese authorities on Sunday. Analysts and officials said the test appeared to involve an intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM), which North Korea has not tested since 2017 when it suspended testing its largest missiles and its nuclear weapons.

“The inspection firing test was conducted for the purpose of selectively inspecting the ground-to-ground mid-range long-range ballistic missile Hwasong-12 and verifying the overall accuracy of this weapon system,” KCNA said.

KCNA said the missile launch was conducted in a way to ensure the safety of neighbouring countries, and that the test warhead was fitted with a camera that took photos while it was in space. (Reporting by Jack Kim Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Sandra Maler)

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