United Nations blasts Pyongyang's latest missile launch

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 US military bases in Japan and the Pacific.

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.

The United States and South Korea have said the deployment is aimed purely at defending against any threat from North Korea, which experts have thought for months is preparing for what would be its sixth nuclear test in total.

"The midrange surface-to-surface solid-fuel missile Pukguksong-2 launched successfully", North Korea stated.

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

The latest missile can not even hit Guam, about 2,100 miles away from North Korea.

North Korea says it is prepared to deploy a new medium-range missile as part of an "answer" to President Trump's policies.

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

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

North Korea continues its testing of ballistic missiles, some of which it claims is capable of carrying a nuclear warhead, despite several warnings and strong sanctions being imposed by the United Nations.

South Korea's Yonhap news agency, without citing a source, reported that South Korea fired about 90 machine gun rounds into the air and toward North Korea.

All 15 council members, including the North's closest ally China, approved the statement ahead of emergency closed consultations Tuesday where France's U.N. Ambassador Francois Delattre said a new sanctions resolution will be discussed. Its two nuclear tests a year ago may have improved its ability to make nuclear weapons small enough to fit on long-range missiles.

Missile tests such as Sunday's present a hard challenge to Moon, a liberal who took over as South Korea's president on May 10 and has expressed a desire to reach out to the North. Pyongyang's aggressive push to improve its weapons program also makes it one of the most urgent foreign policy concerns for the Trump administration, though Washington has struggled to settle on a policy.

Pyongyang, undeterred by multiple United Nations Security Council sanctions resolutions over its nuclear weapons and missile programs, continues to defy the worldwide community with atomic and rocket tests.

This was its second missile test in a week, which South Korea said dashed the hopes of the South's new liberal government under President Moon Jae-in for peace between the neighbors.

South Korea said the missile flew about 500 kilometers (300 miles) from an area near Pukchang, in western North Korea.

The launches, and a threatened sixth nuclear test, have fueled tension with the Trump administration, which has warned that military intervention was an option under consideration, sending fears of conflict spiraling.

Kim said the test showed the missile is ready for deployment and mass production, according to KCNA.

Solid-fuel missiles have their fuel loaded in them before being moved into place, allowing them to be launched faster and with more secrecy.

  • Leroy Wright