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South Korea: Pyongyang is at an early stage of developing a hypersonic missile

South Korean military authorities confirmed Wednesday that North Korea is in an early stage of developing a hypersonic missile.

South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said - according to Yonhap news agency - that it believes North Korea is at an early stage in developing a hypersonic missile and its deployment will require a long time, given the assessment of information about the missile the North said it tested yesterday, such as speed and other advantages.

The authority explained that it believes that it is currently possible to monitor and intercept the missile through the joint assets between South Korea and the United States, pointing out that it is unlikely that it will be easy to intercept if it is actually deployed after it has passed the testing phase and is completed.

The North's official Korean Central News Agency said earlier in the day that North Korea yesterday launched for the first time a newly developed hypersonic missile called the Hwasong-8.

The agency claimed that it was the first test launch of this type, and that the scientists confirmed the ability to control the flight of the missile and its safety in the active phase, in addition to the technical indicators of the separate part and the characteristics of the flight, among others.

South Korea plans to launch its first home-made space rocket next month, as it is currently in the final stages of preparations.

"The (Nuri) missile will be launched on October 21 as scheduled at the (Naro) Space Center located in (Gohyeong), 473 kilometers south of Seoul," the Ministry of Science said - in a statement reported by "Yonhap Agency", today, Wednesday. The missile is now on a launch pad for a fuel fill test known as a "wet setup rehearsal", to check the systems are working in harsh weather conditions.

South Korea has invested about 2 trillion won (US$1.8 billion) in the project since 2010, and finally revealed a test prototype of the missile last June.

Nuri, weighing 200 tons, will carry a dummy payload weighing 1.5 tons in the October launch, before being launched with a 200 kg satellite and a dummy payload weighing 1.3 tons, on May 19 next year.

In 2013, Korea successfully launched its first space rocket called "Naru", but its first stage was built in Russia.