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North Korea: New long-range missile can carry heavy nuke

North Korea: New long-range missile can carry heavy nuke

North Korean propaganda must be considered with wariness, but Monday's claim, if confirmed, would mark another big advance toward the North's goal of fielding a nuclear-tipped missile capable of reaching the US mainland.

Kim Jong-Un was on hand and "hugged" his rocket scientists after what North Korean media hailed as the successful test of a "medium long-range" ballistic missile that is capable of carrying a heavy nuclear warhead.

The report also stated America's mainland and operations in the Pacific region are in North Korea's "sighting range for a strike and that it has all-powerful means for a retaliatory strike". And the USA rotates heavy bombers, including B-1s, B-2s and B-52s, through the island.

"North Korea's latest successful missile test represents a level of performance never before seen from a North Korean missile", aerospace engineer John Schilling wrote on the blog 38 North, published by the US Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University.

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).

"This may become half or a third of an ICBM", she said, pointing out that such missile are built in two or three stages stacked atop of each other.

DPRK are the initials of North Korea's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

But after a number of recent missile tests failed very publicly, Sunday afternoon saw the test-firing of a missile that came closer to Russian Federation than any previous launches.

The United Nations Security Council is due to meet on Tuesday to discuss North Korea's latest missile launch, diplomats said - a meeting that was requested by the USA and allies South Korea and Japan. While North Korean's arsenal of missiles is becoming clearer, there is less certainty about how developed its nuclear program is.

The U.S. has always been skeptical that Pyongyang has the technology to mount a nuclear warhead.

"It's a challenging form of technology, and there's no indication yet in the public realm that North Korea has it", Martin Navias from the Center for Defense Studies at Kings College London told CNN.

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The United Nations Security Council on Monday condemned North Korea for its latest ballistic missile test, warning that it will implement further sanctions over its provocative acts.

Underscoring the gravity of the situation, one USA official told Fox News that Pyongyang took a "step forward" with its Sunday launch.

In a White House statement released Sunday, Spicer said: "With the missile impacting so close to Russian soil - in fact, closer to Russia than to Japan - the President can not imagine that Russia is pleased".

The US also accused the missile of coming "close to Russian soil, the president can not imagine that Russia is pleased". But he warned against "intimidating" Pyongyang. That's higher and closer to Russian Federation than other North Korean tests, according to U.S. officials.

The country's leader, Kim Jong-un, supervised the launch of the Hwasong-12 missile that reached an altitude of 2,111.5 km and flew 787 km, according to state news agency KCNA.

Besides worries about North Korea's missile and nuclear weapons programmes, cyber security researchers have found technical evidence they said could link the North with the global WannaCry "ransomware" cyber attack that has infected more than 300,000 computers in 150 countries since Friday.

Russian Federation is one of the few countries that has diplomatic relations with North Korea.

What will the USA do?

Since US President Donald Trump took power in January, rhetoric has ramped up on both sides.

Pyongyang has regularly threatened to destroy the United States, which it accuses of pushing the Korean peninsula to the brink of nuclear war by conducting recent military drills with South Korea and Japan.


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