UN Security Council strongly condemns N Korea missile test

Western experts say the Hwasong-12 test did appear to have advanced North Korea's aim of developing an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching the US mainland, even if it is still some way off from achieving that capability.

The state-run Korean Central News Agency said the North's leader Kim Jong-Un oversaw Sunday's launch of the solid-fuel Pukguksong-2 missile. The weapon is a two-stage, solid-fueled, canister-launched missile fired from a road-mobile Transporter Erector Launcher (TEL).

Kim said there's also a possibility that the North is conducting engine tests and other experiments as it pushes for the development of a solid-fuel intercontinental ballistic missile that could potentially reach the US mainland.

At the United Nations, diplomats from the U.S., Japan and South Korea said they requested a Security Council consultation on the missile test.

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U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said economic and diplomatic pressure would continue to be applied to North Korea.

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.

North Korea's claim of a solid-fuel missile test, if true, could also mean Pyongyang can swiftly target South Korea's missile defense system KAMD, as well as USA military bases in Japan and the Pacific.

The suspected North Korean balloons were spotted two days after Pyongyang test-fired a ballistic missile - its second missile test in seven days.

The military is analyzing the object's flight path, South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a text message.

Moon took office on May 10 after winning an election on a platform of a more moderate approach to the North, with which the South is still technically at war since no peace treaty was signed at the end of their 1950-1953 conflict.

Cyber security researchers have also said they have found technical evidence that could link North Korea with the global WannaCry "ransomware" cyber attack that infected more than 300,000 computers in 150 countries this month. However, a week ago U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley said Beijing had gone quiet.

The US Department of Defense said in a report submitted to Congress past year that North Korea likely "views cyber as a cost-effective, asymmetric, deniable tool that it can employ with little risk from reprisal attacks, in part because its networks are largely separated from the Internet".

North Korea regularly threatens to destroy the United States which it accuses of preparing for invasion.

Both South Korea and Japan have voiced concerns following reports North Korea launched a medium-range ballistic missile from near its northwestern coast.

He told reporters on Monday that France hopes the council will move ahead on a strong resolution that demands better implementation of existing sanctions and tougher new sanctions against North Korea.

Seoul military officials have previously said the Pukguksong-2 - a land-based version of Pyongyang's submarine-launched weapon - uses solid fuel.

The test of the Pukguksong-2 missile in February came shortly after Mr Trump's inauguration in late January.

China repeated its call for all parties to exercise restraint, to not exacerbate tensions.

"We don't see why dialogue can not take place in the current situation now", Liu said.

  • Zachary Reyes