North Korea says missile tests warhead guidance, ready for deployment

"Entering mass production this early in the development phase is risky, but perhaps a risk North Korea feels comfortable managing", said Michael Elleman of the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

The missile tested on Sunday took off from a location near Pukchang, north-east of Pyongyang, the North Korean capital.

White House officials traveling in Saudi Arabia with President Donald Trump said the system, which was last tested in February, has a shorter range than the missiles launched in North Korea's most recent tests. It already possesses missiles capable of reaching South Korea and Japan, where a large number of USA troops are stationed.

North Korea on Sunday fired the Pukguksong-2, which uses solid fuel that allows for immediate firing, the state-run Korean Central News Agency said.

Developing longer-range solid fuel missiles was a highly complicated and would "take time, lots of it", Elleman said, but North Korea's solid fuel missiles pose a threat to South Korea and Japan and the tens of thousands of USA troops based in both countries.

President Donald Trump, now in the midst of his first foreign trip as president, had no immediate public comment on the test.

"Saying with pride that the missile's rate of hits is very accurate and Pukguksong-2 is a successful strategic weapon, he approved the deployment of this weapon system for action", KCNA said, quoting Kim.

By repeatedly launching missiles the government of North Korea is bluntly defying the UN Security Council resolutions, they should refrain from further tests and embark on the path of dialogue, UN Secretary-General spokesman Stephane Dujarric said on Monday.

It's moving ahead with its nuclear weapons program as well.

Analysts said that with a range of 4,500km, the Hwasong-12 has a striking reach farther than any previous ballistic missile launched by the North, putting U.S. bases on the Pacific island of Guam within reach - and that it could serve as a platform to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile. It claims one was a hydrogen bomb and the other device created a more powerful explosion than any it has previously tested.

The U.S. has become increasingly anxious about North Korea's improved technology, The Times reported.

"The Trump administration would be well advised to lend an ear to the voices of concern that are heard from the United States and the global community", the North's Minju Joson newspaper said in a commentary on Sunday.

If launched from within North Korea, the missile could potentially strike all of Japan, South Korea, and even USA forces in Guam.

The U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM) said the missile landed in the East Sea and characterized it as a "medium range" ballistic missile.

"This is the DPRK's answer to the Trump administration", it said, referring to the national philosophy of "Juche" or self-reliance.

Seoul's foreign ministry slammed the "reckless and irresponsible" weekend firing as "throwing cold water on the hope and longing of the new government and the worldwide community" for denuclearization and peace on the Korean peninsula.

The UN Security Council met behind closed doors last Tuesday to discuss tightening sanctions on North Korea after its May 14 launch. If true, that development would substantially increase the threat posed by North Korea's missile force-the Pukguksong-2 can be deployed on tracked mobile launchers, and it uses a "cold-launch" system that requires much less preparation time, which provides much less of an opportunity for the United States and allies to detect an impending attack.

  • Leroy Wright