Published: Wed, May 17, 2017
World Media | By Shelia Harmon

North Korea Says It Launched Missile That Can Carry Nuclear Warhead

North Korea Says It Launched Missile That Can Carry Nuclear Warhead

The launch was North Korea's fourth this year and landed in the Sea of Japan, near Russian Federation. It said the newly developed Hwasong-12 flew as high as 2,111 kilometers (1,310 miles) before landing in a targeted area in the ocean about 787 kilometers (490 miles) from the launch site.

KCNA said the test "proved to the full" the missile's capabilities, including guidance and stabilisation systems, its engine performance in flight, and "the homing feature of the warhead under the worst re-entry situation and accurate performance of detonation system".

North Korea's state media on Sunday released the first photo of the launch saying it was a "new ground-to-ground medium long-range strategic ballistic rocket", dubbed Hwasong-12.

Russian President Vladimir Putin weighed in Monday morning, calling the test "counterproductive" and "dangerous", but he also suggested the USA and it's regional allies could bear some of the blame, saying "we must stop intimidating North Korea". While Pyongyang regularly tests shorter-range missiles, it is also working to master the technology needed to field nuclear-tipped missiles that can reach the USA mainland.

The U.N. Security Council will hold closed consultations about the launch on Tuesday afternoon, according to the U.N. Mission for Uruguay, which holds the council presidency this month.

"To that end, the Security Council demanded the Democratic People's Republic of Korea conduct no further nuclear and ballistic missile tests", the council said, adding that it was ready to impose further sanctions on the country.

North Korean propaganda must be considered with wariness, but if confirmed, the claim marks another big step forward in the country's escalating efforts to field a nuclear-tipped missile capable of reaching the USA mainland.

South Korea, Japan and the US swiftly condemned the launch, which jeopardizes new South Korean leader Moon Jae-in's willingness for dialogue with the rival North.

However, Russia considers missile and nuclear tests unacceptable, it is necessary to return to dialogue, and intimidation of North Korea must stop, Putin said.

North Korea said on Monday it had successfully conducted a mid- to-long-range missile test and would continue such launches "any time, any place", defying UN Security Council resolutions and warnings from the United States.

"(The global community) has the shared view that North Korea's nuclear and missile provocations pose a grave threat to peace and security in the region and beyond the peninsula", Lee Duk-haeng, ministry spokesman, told a regular press briefing.

Two U.S. military officials told NBC News on Monday that preliminary assessments suggested the launch involved a KN-17, a liquid fuel single-stage missile.

Over the weekend, a senior North Korean official said direct talks with Washington were possible under the right circumstances, echoing a recent statement made by President Trump.

But South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) expressed doubts whether the North has mastered the necessary atmospheric re-entry technology.

But according to US officials, missile launches like this one are a deal-breaker for any hypothetical dialogue.

While Trump has said he'd be "honored" to talk with leader Kim under favorable conditions, Haley seemed to rule out the possibility.

The launch came as troops from the U.S., Japan and two European nations gather near Guam for drills that are partly a message to North Korea. The USS Carl Vinson, an aircraft supercarrier, is also engaging with South Korean navy ships in waters off the Korean Peninsula, according to Seoul's Defense Ministry.

Weapons experts and government officials believe the North has accomplished some technical progress with those tests.

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