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N Korea at crossroads

North Korea's launch of new ICBM signals cutting of ties to South

Hwasong-17 firing follows election of hard-line Yoon as South Korean president

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un walks away from what state media reported is a "new type" of intercontinental ballistic missile in this undated photo released on March 24.   © KCNA/Reuters

SEOUL -- North Korea's launch on Thursday of what is dubbed the Hwasong-17, its most powerful intercontinental ballistic missile to date, signals the end of an inter-Korean detente and threatens to usher in a new period of icy ties between Pyongyang and Washington.

The test brought an immediate response from south of the border. Just hours after the launch, South Korea fired multiple missile systems in a series of exercises. Seoul's Joint Chiefs of Staff said the exercises demonstrated the military's "capability and preparedness to conduct a precision strike against a missile's launch point, command and support facilities anytime should North Korea fire a missile."

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