North Korean test missile 'capable of carrying nuclear warhead'

North Korea has boasted of a successful weekend launch of a new type of "medium long-range" ballistic rocket that can carry a heavy nuclear warhead.

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. Tensions heightened in the Korean Peninsula in recent weeks amid speculation Pyongyang may conduct its sixth nuclear test sometime soon while the North's leader continued to threaten neighboring South and the USA with its series of missile tests, some of which had recently failed.

North Korea is believed to be developing an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of carrying a nuclear warhead and reaching the mainland United States. Pyongyang's aggressive push to boost its weapons program also makes it one of the Trump administration's most urgent foreign policy worries, though Washington has struggled to settle on a policy.

"(The worldwide 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.

The missile - launched from a western area north of the capital Pyongyang - flew for about 30 minutes and reached an altitude of 1,240 miles before splashing into the sea east of the divided peninsula, Japanese officials said.

The latest projectile, launched from a military base in Kusong near the country's northwest coast, traveled some 435 miles (700 kilometers) before landing in the Sea of Japan.

"This is the longest-range missile North Korea has ever tested", Jeffrey Lewis of the Middlebury Institute of International Studies told AFP.

Beijing also denounced the missile test, which violated U.N. Security Council resolutions banning North Korea from using ballistic-missile technology.

Trump said last month major conflict with North Korea was possible but he would prefer a diplomatic outcome.

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David Wright, co-director of the Washington, D.C. -based Union of Concerned Scientists, said that if confirmed, the data would mean the missile launched Sunday had a maximum range of almost 2,800 miles.

The UN Security Council is due to meet on Tuesday to discuss the North's latest missile launch, diplomats said, at the request of the United States, South Korea and Japan.

South Korea has said it was unaware of what North Korea was referring to, while the Central Intelligence Agency and the White House declined to comment on the May 6 statement from North Korea's Ministry of State Security.

Beijing has cited United Nations resolutions for all of its measures against North Korea.

"If the United States awkwardly attempts to provoke the DPRK, it will not escape from the biggest disaster in [.] history", KCNA quoted Kim as saying, referring to the North's formal name of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

Last week, it demanded that the South hand over its spy chief. On Monday, South Korea's unification ministry warned North Korea to not miscalculate the situation.

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

The South Korean military is gathering and analyzing information.

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