North Korea: Ballistic missile test successful

The United Nations Security Council on Monday condemned North Korea's recent ballistic missile tests, warning that the launches contributed to the development of nuclear weapons delivery systems and were greatly increasing tensions.

Kim Jong-un personally oversaw the missile launch on Sunday, and was pictured celebrating with his officials afterward.

The missile, launched at a steep angle, reached an altitude of 2000km and travelled about 700km, landing in the sea west of Japan. And Japanese Defense Minister Tomomi Inada suggested that it might be a new type of missile altogether, noting that it reached an altitude of 2,000 km (1,240 miles) and remained in the air for 30 minutes.

North Korea on Sunday carried out its latest test of a ballistic missile, which Pyongyang said was capable of carrying a "heavy nuclear warhead".

The U.S. Pacific Command said the flight of Sunday's test "is not consistent with an intercontinental ballistic missile", a technology the North is believed to have tested clandestinely by launching rockets to put satellites in orbit.

KCNA said the new rocket was a "perfect weapon" which was "capable of carrying a large-size heavy nuclear warhead".

The state-run news organization also said that, after the launch, Jong Un "hugged officials in the field of rocket research, saying that they worked hard to achieve a great thing".

The council signaled Monday it was ready to act against North Korea because of its "flagrant and provocative defiance" of earlier demands to end all nuclear testing.

Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the United Nations, blasted North Korea's latest missile test Sunday, saying it "is not the way to sit down" with President Donald Trump.

Worldwide condemnation came quickly, with South Korea's newly-elected President Moon Jae-in calling the launch a "reckless provocation". "This is an important step there is still a window for trying to negotiate with North Korea capping its nuclear and missile programs at a point where it is much less of a threat to the United States".

Tensions have simmered on the Korean peninsula since April, when Kim and his government conducted a series of missile tests that demonstrated both the country's growing military capability and its willingness to remain belligerent in the face of worldwide pressure. The US said "military options" remain on the table if the Korean nation continues to pursue nuclear ambitions.

South Korea's newly-elected President Moon Jae-in said the launch was a "reckless provocation".

Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin said the US needed to "stop scaring" the North Korean regime.

There's also a political victory for North Korea.

"This missile launch presented no threat to us, but it of course escalates this conflict and there is nothing good about that".

  • Carolyn Briggs