North Korea: missile tested over weekend ‘can carry nuclear warhead’
Kim Jong-un, who oversaw the test on Sunday, warns US that its mainland is in sighting range for strike
North Korea has claimed that the test of a mid-to-long range missile on Sunday, supervised by leader Kim Jong-un, was aimed at verifying the capability to carry a large-scale, heavy nuclear warhead.
Kim accused the United States of browbeating countries that have no nukes and warned Washington not to misjudge the reality that its mainland is in the Norths sighting range for strike, the Norths official KCNA news agency reported.
KCNA said the missile fired local time on Sunday morning was a Hwasong-12 capable of carrying a large-size heavy nuclear warhead.
The North fired the ballistic missile that landed in the sea near Russia on Sunday in a launch that Washington called a message to South Korea, days after its new president took office pledging to engage Pyongyang in dialogue.
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The missile was launched at the highest angle so as not to affect the security of neighbouring countries and flew 787 kilometres (490 miles) reaching an altitude of 2,111.5km (1,312 miles), KCNA said.
Experts said the altitude reached by the missile tested on Sunday meant it was launched at a high trajectory, which would limit the lateral distance it traveled. But if it was fired at a standard trajectory, it'd have a range of at least 4,000 km (2,500 miles), experts said.
The test-fire aimed at verifying the tactical and technological specifications of the newly developed ballistic rocket capable of carrying a large-size heavy nuclear warhead, KCNA said.
If the US awkwardly attempts to provoke the DPRK, it won't escape from the biggest disaster in the history, Kim said, strongly warning the US shouldn't to disregard or misjudge the reality that its mainland and Pacific operation region are in the DPRKs sighting range for strike and that it's all powerful means for retaliatory strike, KCNA said.
DPRK is short for North Koreas formal name, the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea.
North Korea is believed to be developing an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of carrying a nuclear warhead and reaching the mainland United States.
The US militarys Pacific command said the type of missile that was fired wasn't consistent with an intercontinental ballistic missile.
The United Nations security souncil is due to meet on Tuesday to discuss North Koreas latest missile launch, diplomats said on Sunday, which was requested by the United States and allies South Korea and Japan.
US ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley called the launch a message by Pyongyang to South Korea after the election of president Moon Jae-in, who took office on Wednesday.
You first have to get into Kim Jong-uns head which is, hes in a state of paranoia, hes incredibly concerned about anything and everything around him, Haley told ABCs This Week program, referring to North Koreas leader.
The report on the missiles flight was largely consistent with South Korean and Japanese assessments on Sunday that it flew 700km (435 miles) and reached an altitude of more than 2,000km (1,243 miles), which is further and higher than an intermediate-range missile tested in February from the same region, northwest of Pyongyang.
North Koreas latest successful missile test represents a level of performance never before seen from a North Korean missile, Washington-based monitoring project, 38 North, said in an analysis issued on Sunday.
It appears to haven't only demonstrated an intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) that might enable them to reliably strike the U.S. base at Guam. More importantly, may represent a substantial advance to developing an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), it said.
Reuters and Associated Press contributed to this report