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New long-range missile can carry heavy nuclear warhead, North Korea says
16 May 2017, 09:20 | Harold Aguilar
UN Security Council to meet Tuesday over North Korea missile launch
North Korean state media said Monday that the missile Pyongyang test-fired on Sunday is a new weapon, able to carry a heavy nuclear warhead to unprecedented distances - possibly as far as USA soil. The test gives a boost to leader Kim Jong Un as he seeks to show his people that he's standing up to America and South Korea.
"The test-fire aimed at verifying the tactical and technological specifications of the newly-developed ballistic rocket capable of carrying a large-size heavy nuclear warhead", the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), North Korea's official mouthpiece, reported in English. Pyongyang's aggressive push to boost its weapons program also makes it one of the Trump administration's most urgent foreign policy worries, though Washington has struggled to settle on a policy.
Japanese officials say the missile flew for about 30 minutes, traveling about 800 kilometers (500 miles) and reaching an altitude of 2,000 kilometers (1,240 miles). The missile firing took place Sunday, North Korea time, with the projectile landing in the sea between North Korea and Japan.
"This is the longest-range missile North Korea has ever tested", Jeffrey Lewis of the Middlebury Institute of International Studies told AFP.
At a media briefing at its embassy in Beijing, North Korea's ambassador to China said the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency and South Korean National Intelligence Service conspired "secretly and meticulously" in hatching their plot to use "radioactive or nano-poisonous substances" to assassinate Kim.
China Foreign Affairs University worldwide relations professor Su Hao said North Korea had "to be held accountable and pay the price" for violating United Nations resolutions.
"The members of the Security Council agreed that the Security Council would continue to closely monitor the situation and take further significant measures including sanctions, in line with the Council's previously expressed determination", the Security Council said.
On the respected 38 North website, aerospace engineering specialist John Schilling said it appeared to demonstrate an intermediate-range ballistic missile that could "reliably strike the USA base at Guam" in the Pacific.
The pride in North Korea contrasts with concern in Seoul, the capital of South Korea, which condemned Sunday's launch and called it a serious violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions prohibiting North Korea from conducting long-range missile tests.
The US military's Pacific Command said the type of missile that was sacked was "not consistent with an intercontinental ballistic missile". Spokesman Moon Sang Gyun said it is still unlikely that North Korea has re-entry technology, which would return a warhead safely back into the atmosphere.
KCNA said Kim accused the United States of "browbeating" countries that "have no nukes", warning Washington not to misjudge the reality that its mainland is in the North's "sighting range for strike".
The North has made no secret of its quest to develop a missile capable of delivering a nuclear warhead to the continental United States - something President Donald Trump has vowed "won't happen".
South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said it was sacked toward the east at around 5:30 AM local time from near Kusong in the northwestern province of Pyongan-pukdo.
Preliminary assessment by U.S. authorities indicates that North Korea launched a liquid-fuel single-stage KN-17 missile, NBC News reported citing two military officials.
Russian President Vladimir Putin condemned the missile launch, telling reporters during a visit to China that "there's nothing good about" it.
The White House, in a statement, said North Korea has been "a flagrant menace for far too long".
Six-party talks involving the North, the U.S., South Korea, Russia, China and Japan broke down in 2009.
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