North Korea launches a ballistic missile that flies about 450 miles

Cheryl Sanders
May 27, 2017

The North's Korean Central News Agency said the launch was "aimed at verifying the tactical and technological specifications" of the new long-range ballistic missile.

North Korea says Sunday's launch was of a new type of "medium long-range" ballistic rocket that can carry a heavy nuclear warhead.

North Korea fired a ballistic missile that landed in the sea near Russian Federation on Sunday, in a launch the United States called a message to South Korea, days after its new president took office pledging to engage Pyongyang in dialogue.

North Korean propaganda must be considered with wariness — Pyongyang has threatened for decades to reduce Seoul to a "sea of fire", for instance — but Monday's claim, if confirmed, would mark another big advance toward the North's goal of fielding a nuclear-tipped missile capable of reaching the USA mainland.

And some analysts believe it could take North Korea years to master the technology needed to build a reliable one.

Though tensions between the United States and North Korea have been higher than usual over the past few months, a senior North Korean diplomat told South Korea's Yonhap news agency on Saturday that Pyongyang is open to talks with Washington "under the right conditions".

Pyongyang should "conduct no further nuclear and ballistic missile tests", it said.

The U.N. Security Council will hold closed consultations about the launch on Tuesday afternoon, according to the U.N. Mission for Uruguay, which holds the council presidency this month.

He added that the launch violates the Security Council resolution, and said that Guterres has called calls on North Korea to "ensure full compliance with its worldwide obligations".

But Moon slammed the latest launch as a "reckless provocation" and said dialogue would be possible "only if the North changes its attitude".

Hanham also said the fact that the missile's re-entry vehicle flew so high above the Earth put it under more stress than a warhead might undergo when fired on a more normal, flatter trajectory.

Moon was part of the South's last liberal government almost a decade ago, which pursued a "Sunshine policy" of reconciliation and dialogue with the North.

But the new engine used for Sunday's test signaled a major step forward in the intermediate-range missile development, one that can be modified for an ICBM flight, Lee said.

Asked if North Korea's missile programme was developing faster than the South had expected, Mr Han said: "Yes".

The Security Council also calls on all countries to implement the six North Korea sanctions resolutions it already has adopted "in an expeditious and serious manner".

No sitting USA president has ever met with the leader of North Korea while in power, and the idea is extremely controversial. U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley raised the possibility of a new set of global economic restrictions for the North, including on oil imports. Beijing is wary of piling on economic pressure that could cause North Korea's collapse, and it wasn't clear Monday if it would support new sanctions.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has condemned North Korea's latest test-firing of a ballistic missile.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters that the launch was "absolutely unacceptable" and that Japan would respond resolutely.

"With the missile impacting so close to Russian soil - in fact, closer to Russia than to Japan - the President can not imagine that Russia is pleased", the statement said. The USS Carl Vinson, an aircraft supercarrier, is also engaging with South Korean navy ships in waters off the Korean Peninsula, according to Seoul's Defense Ministry.

Other reports by iNewsToday