Pyongyang claims missile can carry nuke, hit the US

Leader Kim Jong-Un personally oversaw the test on Sunday, the official Korea Central News Agency (KCNA) said, and pictures by state media showed him gazing at the missile in a hangar before the launch.

SEOUL, Korea, Republic Of - North Korea's latest ballistic missile test may be almost as big a deal as its propaganda machine claims.

"The missile may have a maximum range capable of reaching Alaska and Hawaii if it is fired at a standard angle", Kim Dong-yub, a professor at the Institute for Far Eastern Studies in Kyungnam University, said according to Yonhap News.

Pyongyang has long threatened to develop a nuclear-tipped missile that could reach the United States, a distance of around 8,000 km (4,800 miles). The United States maintains our ironclad commitment to stand with our allies in the face of the serious threat posed by North Korea.

Council members demanded that North Korea "conduct no further nuclear and ballistic missiles tests", in what appeared to be a final warning to North Korea before a new wave of sanctions could be adopted.

The Security Council is scheduled to hold closed-door consultations on the missile test on Tuesday.

"There's a lot of sanctions left that we can start to do, whether it's with oil, whether it's with energy, whether it's with their maritime ships, exports", US Ambassador Nikki Haley told ABC television's "This Week". The US has sent warships and submarines to waters off the Korean Peninsula, engaged in drills with South Korean and Japanese forces, and has pushed for stronger economic sanctions on Pyongyang.

North Korea's state news agency identified the weapon as a Hwasong-12 "medium long-range" ground-to-ground ballistic missile. Schilling also predicts the missile could have flown almost 2,800 miles (or about 4,500 kilometers) if launched on a maximum trajectory - which would put Guam within striking distance of North Korean missles but "won't greatly change the strategic balance" because "aside from Guam, there aren't really any interesting targets in that range".

Under UN resolutions, North Korea is barred from developing nuclear and missile technology, with six sets of sanctions imposed on the isolated regime since it first tested an atomic device in 2006.

"The greatest responsibility for bringing North Korea to its senses. lies with China", Turnbull says.

Japanese officials said the missile flew for about 800 kilometers before landing in the Sea of Japan. "North Korean missiles are a threat to the region and very destabilizing", Capt. Jeff Davis said during a briefing at the Foreign Press Center.

Even before North Korea gave its account of what happened, the launch caught the eye of experts.

It was the North's second missile firing in two weeks, and came amid mounting global concern over Pyongyang's progress in developing nuclear weapons that could be carried by long-range missiles.

Here's a closer look at what happened in Sunday's missile launch, which came only a few days after the inauguration of a new South Korean president, and why it's viewed as a worrying development by North Korea's neighbours and Washington.

Last week the South elected a new president, Moon Jae-In, who advocates reconciliation with Pyongyang and said at his inauguration that he was willing "in the right circumstances" to visit the North to ease tensions.

  • Fernando Stephens