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With the Musudan, Pyongyang aims to poke holes in U.S. alliances

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A missile thought to be a Musudan is test-fired in this photo released by Korean Central News Agency on June 23.   © Kyodo

TOKYO When North Korea announced on June 23 that it had successfully test-fired a Musudan intermediate-range ballistic missile the previous day, Pyongyang's aim was not just to demonstrate its improved weapons capabilities. The regime is hoping to drive a wedge between Japan and the U.S. and between South Korea and the U.S. by neutralizing these three countries' network of missile defenses.

North Korea has test-fired Musudan missiles a total of six times since April 15, including twice on June 22. The sixth was its first successful attempt. It is believed the missile reached an altitude of about 1,000km, temporarily leaving the Earth's atmosphere, and that it traveled about 400km before landing in the Sea of Japan.

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