North Korea fires missile in latest test

North Korea fired a medium-range missile on Sunday, U.S. and South Korean officials said, the latest ballistics test by a country speeding up its development of nuclear weapons and missiles.

On Saturday, it said it had developed the capability to strike the US mainland, although Western missile experts say the claim is exaggerated.

Commander David Benham, a US Pacific Command spokesman, said that the missile had been "tracked until it landed in the Sea of Japan".

"Our military is closely monitoring North Korea and is maintaining readiness posture", the statement said. The missile launched on Sunday reached a maximum altitude of 560 kilometers (347 miles), said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, citing office rules.

If confirmed, this will be North Korea's 10th missile launch of 2017.

South Korea's foreign ministry said the tests were "reckless and irresponsible actions throwing cold water over the hopes and desires of this new government and the global community for denuclearisation and peace on the Korean peninsula". "We ask that they cease that because until they cease that testing, clearly they have not changed their view".

President Moon Jae-in immediately convened a National Security Council meeting to discuss the communist neighbor's provocation.

Meanwhile, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said he would raise the issue at a G7 summit in Italy next week.

Earlier this month, North Korea launched a medium long-range ballistic missile called the Hwasong-12, which it said was capable of carrying a heavy nuclear warhead.

An official traveling with U.S. President Donald Trump in Saudi Arabia said the White House was aware of the launch and noted that the missile had a shorter range than the three previous tested by North Korea.

The North Korean military is believed to have conducted another ballistic missile test. "The North American Aerospace Defense Command assessed that the missile launch from North Korea did not pose a threat to North America".

The reclusive state has been working to develop a nuclear-tipped missile capable of striking the USA mainland. If the North ever obtains a solid-fuel ICBM, it would likely be a rocket powered by a cluster of several Pukguksong-2 engines, Kim said.

Pyongyang has long had missiles that can reach targets across the South and Japan.

"The repeated provocation is a reckless and irresponsible behavior, like pouring cold water on the wishes of our new government and the global community for denuclearization and peace to prevail in the Korean Peninsula", said a statement from South Korea's Foreign Ministry.

  • Zachary Reyes