North Korea says it's ready to deploy medium-range missiles

The council on Monday strongly condemned North Korea's "flagrant and provocative defiance" of United Nations sanctions banning ballistic missile tests and again vowed to impose new sanctions in response to its latest launch. "It is also important to enhance our defence capability to deter and prevent North Korea's additional provocations", he said.

"The Supreme Leader issued an order to launch the missile at the observation post", KCNA reports.

North Korea said on Monday that Sunday's launch met all technical requirements that could allow mass-production of the missile, which it calls the Pukguksong-2.

South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said Monday that Seoul and Washington believe Sunday's test provided North Korea with unspecified "meaningful data" on its push to improve the credibility of missile technology. It reached an altitude of 560 kilometres (347 miles), the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity, citing office rules. It says the programme is necessary to counter USA aggression.

But North Korea has said its missile testing is in reaction to threats against it by the South, the USA and Japan.

US President Donald Trump, who is now visiting Saudi Arabia, has not yet respond to North Korea's latest act of provocation.

So far, North Korea's missiles have been liquid-fuelled that have to be filled with propellant before launch, while solid fuel missiles can be fired far more rapidly.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Sunday it was too early to know if the worldwide pressures being exerted on North Korea to discourage its weapons programs were having an impact.

"I believe we must review the possibility as I believe we could resume exchanges in various areas, such as personnel, social, cultural and sports, as long as they do not undermine the worldwide framework of sanctions against North Korea", he said.

He explained that Moon's government showed readiness to squarely face problems that hinder China-South Korea relations, rather than keeping away from them. The ongoing testing is disappointing.

Speaking at a UN Conference on Disarmament Tuesday, North Korea's diplomat Ju Yong Chol defended their missile tests as legitimate acts of self defense. "But we need more analysis to determine whether the warhead had a stable atmospheric re-entry".

South Korea held a National Security Council meeting Sunday to discuss the latest launch, which came hours after new President Moon Jae-in named his new foreign minister nominee and top advisers for security and foreign policy. Such language has become standard following a series of North Korean missile tests in recent months. It called the missile, capable of reaching Japan and major U.S. military bases there, an "answer" to the United States policies. Last week, North Korea successfully launched a KN-17 missile, which some experts said may one day may be capable of reaching Alaska or Hawaii.

The North Korean leader also described Pukguksong-2 as a "successful strategic weapon", with a "very accurate" hit rate.

  • Leroy Wright