Published: Fri, May 19, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Kim gleeful as North Korea fires longest-range missile

Kim gleeful as North Korea fires longest-range missile

Sunday's launch was of a "new ground-to-ground medium long-range strategic ballistic rocket" named the Hwasong-12, the official Korea Central News Agency (KCNA) said.

The reclusive North, which has defied all calls to rein in its weapons programs, has been working on a missile, mounted with a nuclear warhead, capable of striking the US mainland.

"I want to confirm that we are categorically against the expansion of the club of nuclear powers, including with the Korean Peninsula and North Korea", Putin said at a Chinese economic summit in Beijing, saying it would be "harmful and risky". It could have a range of 4,500 kilometers (about 2,800 miles), putting the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam easily within range.

North Korea has tested dozens of banned missiles in the previous year, though this was the first success after a string of recent failures.

Most importantly, USA officials say it appears to have been a test of a reentry vehicle, a key technology North Korea must master before it can develop an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of striking the United States mainland with a nuclear weapon.

"We consider (the missile test) counter-productive, harmful and risky", Putin told reporters after an worldwide forum in Beijing. In a show of force, the United States sent an aircraft carrier strike group, led by the USS Carl Vinson, to waters off the Korean peninsula to conduct drills with South Korea and Japan.

Despite North Korea's claim that Sunday's test simulated a re-entry situation, South Korean defense officials say the North probably has yet to master the technology.

Seoul- Washington and Tokyo have requested the Security Council to hold an emergency meeting, which could be held today in NY, according to what Uruguay delegation has announced.

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The UN Security Council has strongly condemned North Korea's latest ballistic missile test and vowed to take strict measures against the regime, including sanctions, to bar it from carrying out nuclear weapons programme.

In April the North put dozens of missiles on show at a giant military parade through the streets of Pyongyang, including one that appeared to be the type of device launched on Sunday.

Newly elected President Moon Jae-in said the South had to "learn to say 'no, '" to the US and to exhaust diplomatic ways of resolving issues with the North. Traditionally, the United States and China have negotiated new measures before involving remaining council members. Pyongyang is threatening a sixth nuclear test. North Korea on Monday, May 1. Pyongyang's actions are also seen as a threat by its neighbors, Japan and South Korea, and their allies, such as the United States.

The official [North] Korean Central News Agency said Kim "warned the USA not to disregard or misjudge the reality that its mainland and Pacific region operations are in [North Korea's] sighting range for a strike and that it has all powerful means for a retaliatory strike".

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said on Sunday that the U.S. and its worldwide partners will "tighten the screws" on the North Korean regime. That could strike USA military bases in Guam.

Harris is to meet Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Defence Minister Tomomi Inada later in the day.

Lee also said North Korea should not misjudge South Korea's tough stance against missile tests despite reports of a more "conciliatory" approach to inter-Korea relations under Moon.

Pyongyang "may be closer to an operational ICBM than had been previously estimated", he said on the respected 38 North website.

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