2017 North Korean missile tests

Throughout 2017, 17 missile tests were conducted by North Korea. These tests ranged in success, and included first tests of the DPRK's new missile, the Hwasong-12, which was the most-tested missile type over the course of the year. 2017's missile tests are especially notable due to the several instances of North Korean missiles passing over Japan, provoking a response from the Japanese government, as well as the test of an ICBM, the range of which prompted an Emergency Debate of the UN Security Council.



On April 4, 2017, North Korea launched a Hwasong-12 ballistic missile which reached the Sea of Japan.[1] The test came after a day of celebration for North Korea's Eternal President Kim Il Sung.[2] US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson responded by saying the United States had not changed its stance on North Korea and would not comment further.[3]

On April 15, 2017, a Hwasong-12 missile was launched and failed almost immediately, according to the United States Military and the South Korean Armed Forces.[4][5] The US National Security Advisor, H.R. McMaster, said "all options are on the table" as possible reactions.[6]

On April 28, 2017, another Hwasong-12 missile was launched from Bukchang in the South Pyeongan province, and failed shortly after liftoff. The missile hit the ground in an industrial area around near the city of Tokchon, causing damage to multiple buildings.[7] This launch occurred only hours after a meeting of the UN Security Council condemned North Korean missile and nuclear testing activities again.[8] US President Donald Trump called this action disrespectful to China.[9]

On May 14, 2017, a ballistic missile test was carried out. The Hwasong-12 missile flew for 30 minutes, covering a distance of 700 km (430 mi) and reaching an altitude upwards of 2,000 km (1,200 mi).[10][11]



On June 8, 2017 North Korea fired four anti-ship missiles off its east coast, near the port city of Wonsan.[12]



On July 4, 2017 North Korea tested an ICBM. The missile flew for approximately 40 minutes, falling 930 km (580 mi) away from the launch site in the Sea of Japan.[13] The missile, named the Hwasong-14, reached an altitude of 2,802 km (1,741 mi). It is estimated that the missile has the capability of reaching 6,700 km (4,200 mi) on a standard trajectory, meaning that although it would not be capable of reaching the Contiguous United States, it would be able to hit anywhere in Alaska.[14] The test prompted an Emergency Debate of the United Nations Security Council.[15]

On July 28, 2017, North Korea launched an additional ballistic missile from Chagang Province, reaching an altitude of 3,000 km ending up in the Sea of Japan narrowly missing an Air France Flight from Tokyo to Paris. km (1,865 mi). Jeffrey Lewis, researcher at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, estimated that the missile could have a range of approximately 10,000 km based on its 45-minute flight time. With this range, the missile could potentially reach major U.S. cities such as Denver and Chicago. This is the fourteenth missile test conducted by North Korea in the year 2017.[16] As with the missile launched on July 4, this missile has also been estimated to be of type Hwasong-14.[17]



On August 26, 2017, three short-range missiles were launched around early morning from a site in Gangwon Province, with the second one appearing to have blown up almost immediately while another two flew about 250 km (155 miles) in a north-eastern direction, before crashing in the Sea of Japan.[18][19]

Mid-range launch over Japan

The August and September missiles flew a regular trajectory, unlike the missile launched in May which had flown a lofted trajectory[20]

On August 29, 2017, at 5:57 am KST, North Korea launched a Hwasong-12 ballistic missile that passed over Hokkaido, the second largest island of Japan.[21] The missile travelled 2,700 kilometres (1,700 mi) and reached a maximum height of 550 kilometres (340 mi).[22] This was the second successful test flight of the Hwasong-12 missile, following three failed tests.[23]

People living under the missile's flight path received a J-Alert message on their cellphones at 6:02 a.m., four minutes after its launch.[24]

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called this test "a reckless act of launching a missile that flies over our country is an unprecedented, serious and important threat."[25] North Korea had previously carefully avoided sending test missiles over Japan by using highly lofted trajectories, and had sent more recent satellite launches to the south avoiding Japan.[26] The missile was at an altitude of about 500 kilometres (310 mi) over Japan, well into space, and the Japanese military did not attempt to shoot down the missile.[27]

The missile was launched from Pyongyang Sunan International Airport, presumably using a mobile launcher. It reportedly broke into three parts before splashing down in the Pacific Ocean; it is unclear if this was intentional.[23] Given North Korea's geographical position, for a non-lofted test flight at this range there was no other practical alternative to passing over Japan.[23]

This was the fifth time North Korea fired a rocket over the Japanese archipelago,[28][29][30] although this launch was the first missile launch, as the previous four were satellite launches or attempts.[26]



On September 15 at about 6:30am KST, North Korea fired a Hwasong-12 missile from the Pyongyang International Airport, which, for a second time, overflew Hokkaido, Japan.[31] The missile traveled 3,700 kilometres (2,300 mi) and reached a maximum height of 770 kilometres (480 mi); this is the furthest distance any North Korean IRBM missile has ever reached.[32]

North Korean rockets flown over the Japanese archipelago
No. Date Model Area flown over Advance notice North Korean claim Satellite name
1 August 31, 1998 Taepodong-1 Akita No Satellite launch Kwangmyŏngsŏng-1
2 April 5, 2009 Unha-2 Akita, Iwate Yes Satellite launch Kwangmyŏngsŏng-2
3 December 12, 2012 Unha-3 Okinawa Yes Satellite launch Kwangmyŏngsŏng-3
4 February 7, 2016 Kwangmyŏngsŏng (Unha-3) Okinawa Yes Satellite launch Kwangmyŏngsŏng-4
5 August 29, 2017 Hwasong-12 Hokkaido No Missile launch N/A
6 September 15, 2017 Hwasong-12 Hokkaido No Missile launch N/A
7 October 4, 2022 Hwasong-12 (presumed) Aomori No
North Korean rockets flown over the Japanese archipelago



On November 28, North Korea launched another ballistic missile, a Hwasong-15, the first in over two months. The missile was said to have reached an altitude of 4,500 km and landed near Japan's exclusive economic zone.[33] According to Yonhap News, Korean Air flights KE026 and KE012 witnessed lights presumably from separated portions of the missile.[34]

See also



  1. ^ "North Korean missile fired ahead of US-China summit". BBC News. 2017-04-05. Archived from the original on 2017-04-05. Retrieved 2017-04-05.
  2. ^ Park, Ju-min; Kim, Jack (2017-04-05). "N.Korea test-fires missile into sea ahead of Trump-Xi summit". Reuters India. Archived from the original on 2017-04-06. Retrieved 2017-04-06.
  3. ^ "North Korean Missile Launch". www.state.gov. April 4, 2017. Archived from the original on April 28, 2017.
  4. ^ Paula Hancocks, Barbara Starr and Steve Almasy (April 16, 2017). "North Korean missile test fails, US and South Korea say". CNN. Archived from the original on April 16, 2017. Retrieved April 16, 2017.
  5. ^ Courtney Kube, Stella Kim (April 16, 2017). "North Korean Missile Launch Fails 'Almost Immediately', U.S. Military Says". NBC News. Archived from the original on April 15, 2017. Retrieved April 16, 2017.
  6. ^ Kevin Bohn (April 16, 2017). "McMaster: All options on table in regard to North Korea". CNN. Archived from the original on April 16, 2017. Retrieved April 16, 2017.
  7. ^ Ankit Panda and Dave Schmerler (January 3, 2018). "When a North Korean Missile Accidentally Hit a North Korean City". The Diplomat. Retrieved January 4, 2018.
  8. ^ "North Korea crisis: North in another 'failed' missile launch". BBC News. April 29, 2017. Archived from the original on April 29, 2017.
  9. ^ "North Korea missile test: regime has 'disrespected China', says Trump". The Guardian. April 29, 2017. Archived from the original on April 29, 2017.
  10. ^ "North Korea carries out new ballistic missile test". BBC News. 14 May 2017. Archived from the original on 14 May 2017.
  11. ^ Schilling, John (May 24, 2017). "North Korea's New Hwasong-12 Missile". 38 North.
  12. ^ Westcott, Ben (June 8, 2017). "North Korea launches 4 anti-ship missiles, fourth test in a month". CNN. Archived from the original on 21 June 2017. Retrieved 21 June 2017.
  13. ^ "North Korea hails 'successful ICBM' test". BBC News. 4 July 2017. Retrieved 4 July 2017.
  14. ^ "North Korea claims it tested first intercontinental ballistic missile". ABC News. 4 July 2017. Retrieved 4 July 2017.
  15. ^ Finnegan, Conor (5 July 2017). "US threatens military action at emergency UN meeting on North Korea". ABC News. Retrieved 6 July 2017.
  16. ^ "North Korea conducts new intercontinental missile test". BBC News Online. 28 July 2017.
  17. ^ Schilling, John (August 1, 2017). "What Next for North Korea's ICBM?". 38 North.
  18. ^ "North Korea fires three missiles into sea". BBC News. 26 August 2017. Retrieved 26 August 2017.
  19. ^ "North Korea launches trio of missiles amidst US-South Korea military drills". CNN. 25 August 2017. Retrieved 26 August 2017.
  20. ^ "N. Korea's missile could be advanced IRBM: defense minister". The Mainichi. August 29, 2017. Onodera added that the latest missile flew on a regular trajectory, unlike the North's recent missiles that followed a "lofted" trajectory.
  21. ^ "North Korea fires missile over Japan". The Guardian. Reuters. August 28, 2017. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved August 28, 2017.
  22. ^ "North Korea ballistic missile flew 2,700 km: South Korea military". Reuters. August 28, 2017. Retrieved August 28, 2017.
  23. ^ a b c Ryall, Julian (29 August 2017). "What was the missile North Korea fired over Japan and was it a warning to Guam?". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 31 August 2017.
  24. ^ Rich, Motoko (August 29, 2017). "Japan Wakes to a Text Message: Missile Approaching". The New York Times. Retrieved August 30, 2017.
  25. ^ Barney Henderson; Julian Ryall; Neil Connor; Chris Graham (August 29, 2017). "'All options are on the table': Donald Trump says world has received North Korea's message 'loud and clear' after Kim Jong-un fires missile over Japan". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved August 30, 2017.
  26. ^ a b Wright, David (August 29, 2017). "North Korea's Missile Test over Japan". Union of Concerned Scientists. Retrieved August 30, 2017.
  27. ^ Pollack, Joshua (5 September 2017). "Why didn't the US shoot down North Korea's missile? Maybe it couldn't". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 September 2017.
  28. ^ "N. Korea fires missile over Japan". Japan News. Yomiuri Shimbun. August 29, 2017. Archived from the original on 2017-09-01. Retrieved 2017-09-24. This is the first time that a North Korean missile has flown over the Japanese archipelago since February 2016, when a North Korean satellite launch flew over Okinawa Prefecture. It was the fifth time overall.
  29. ^ "Editorial: Japan needs to push for urgent diplomatic solution to N. Korea issue". The Mainichi. Mainichi Shimbun. August 30, 2017. This was the fifth time that a North Korean missile flew over the Japanese archipelago. In the past, North Korea had indicated in advance that it would launch what it called "rockets," apart from its first missile launch in 1998.
  30. ^ "Japan, US look to cut off North Korea's oil supply". Nikkei Asia. August 30, 2017. Archived from the original on 2017-09-01. Retrieved 2017-09-24. Though this marks the fifth time North Korean missiles have flown over Japan, key differences from past cases indicate that the threat is greater this time.
  31. ^ "North Korea 'fires missile from Pyongyang'". BBC. 15 September 2017. Retrieved 15 September 2017.
  32. ^ Sang-Hun, Choe; Sanger, David E. (2017-09-14). "North Korea Launches Another Missile, Escalating Crisis". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-09-15.
  33. ^ Nichols, Josh Smith (30 November 2017). "U.S. Warns North Korean leadership will be 'utterly destroyed' in case of war". Reuters.
  34. ^ Dong-kyu, Kim (November 29, 2017). "대한항공 여객기도 목격한 北 미사일?…"日 영공서 불빛 봤다"". Yonhap news (in Korean). Retrieved 2017-11-30.