North Korea says ready to deploy, mass produce new missile

South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said North Korea fired an unidentified ballistic missile at around 4:59 p.m. Sunday from Pukchang, South Pyongan Province, which flew about 500 kilometers before landing in the East Sea.

The launch "completely verified" the reliability and accuracy of the device, and its late-stage warhead guidance system, KCNA said, adding the test results were "perfect".

The rocket was sacked from an area near the North Korean county of Pukchang, in South Phyongan Province, and flew eastward about 500 kilometers (310 miles), said South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff.

"We cannot absolutely tolerate the missile launch on May 21 and repeated provocative remarks and actions by North Korea", Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said on Monday. On Saturday, it said it had developed the capability to strike the USA mainland, although Western missile experts say the claim is exaggerated.

Under the watch of third-generation dictator Kim Jong Un, North Korea has been aggressively pursuing a decades-long goal of putting a nuclear warhead on an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching the US mainland.

Such tests present a hard challenge to Mr Moon, South Korea's new President, a liberal who took office on 10 May and has expressed a desire to reach out to North Korea. He vowed to bring up the issue at this week's G-7 summit in Italy.

The council diplomats say the closed discussion was requested by the United States, Japan and South Korea and will take place Tuesday.

On Saturday North Korea's state media said the nation had developed the capability to strike the US mainland, although Western missile experts say the claim is exaggerated.

"The launch came just one week after the North fired a Hwasong-12 intermediate-range missile, which according to Pyongyang was capable of carrying a "heavy" nuclear warhead".

"He said the missile's rate of hits is very accurate and Pukguksong-2 is a successful strategic weapon".

Experts said that rocket flew higher and for a longer time than any other missile previously tested by North Korea, and that it could one day reach targets as far away as Hawaii and Alaska.

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

  • Leroy Wright