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Sunday missile launch was new type of rocket - NKorea

16 May 2017

North Korea leader Kim Jong Un warned Monday that his country's new ballistic missile can carry a large nuclear warhead and that the United States mainland is now within "sighting range".

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un inspects the long-range strategic ballistic rocket Hwasong-12 (Mars-12) in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on May 15, 2017.

The North Korean news agency also reported that Kim Jong-un supervised the test of the Hwasong-12 strategic ballistic rocket, which reached an altitude of 2,111.5 kilometers and flew 787 kilometers before in landed it the Sea of Japan not far from Russian Federation.

U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley said on ABC television's George Stephanopolous show Sunday that the U.S. has been working well with China, Pyongyang's closest ally, and she raised the possibility of new sanctions against North Korea including on oil imports. Japan's Kyodo News agency, citing unidentified sources, said the missile may be capable of reaching 4,000 kilometers (2,500 miles) at a normal trajectory.

Speaking Monday in Tokyo, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga noted that along with the US and South Korea, Japan was going to push this week at the United Nations for greater unity, including efforts to extend "diplomatic cooperation with China and Russian Federation and other countries that have a strong influence" over the North.

It also warned that if the USA attempts to provoke the Pyongyang "it will not escape from the biggest disaster in the history".

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China is the linchpin of Trump's strategy for halting North Korea's pursuit of a nuclear-tipped missile that could strike the US mainland.

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

The successful launch comes after a significant embarrassment for North Korea's military in April, when a missile test ended in the destruction of the entire weapon shortly after takeoff.

North Korean state media said the missile had been launched over the country and into the sea east of the Korean Peninsula 787km (489 miles) away from its launch site near Kusong.

Since the beginning of past year the North has carried out two atomic tests and dozens of missile launches as it seeks to refine its weapons.

Having overseen the test, leader Kim Jong-un warned the USA mainland and Pacific bases are in North Korea's "sighting range".

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Estimated ranges of known North Korean missiles.

Last week the South also 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.

Even though North Korea is far from its ultimate target of creating small-sized nuclear warheads, capable of carrying longer-range missiles, some believe it has already achieved its goal of building shorter-range missiles, which can carry nuclear warheads.

It "represents a level of performance never before seen from a North Korean missile", aerospace engineering specialist John Schilling wrote on the respected 38 North website.

South Korea's own defense ministry has responded to the report.

Trump later appeared to hold open the door to negotiations, saying he would be "honoured" to meet Kim and calling him a "smart cookie".

North Korea says new rocket can carry nuclear warhead
The United Nations Security Council UNSC will meet on Tuesday to discuss Pyongyang's latest defiant move. But, he added: "We must stop intimidating North Korea and find a peaceful solution to this problem".