Kim Jong-un Claims New Missile Can Reach Mainland US

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un waves to the Korean People's Army construction department officials in Pyongyang

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on Sunday observed the test launch of a new ballistic missile that can carry a large nuclear warhead and has the USA mainland within striking range, state media claimed Monday.

In a unanimous statement backed by China, the council vowed strong measures in response to Pyongyang's "highly destabilizing behavior" and demanded a halt to "further nuclear and ballistic missiles tests".

"We will conduct ICBM tests anytime and anywhere in accordance with the decisions made by our central leadership", North Korea's ambassador to China Ji Jae Pyong said.

New sanctions were expected to be discussed at a closed council meeting today, the diplomats said, speaking on condition of anonymity because talks have been private.

North Korea test-launched what appears to be a long-range ballistic missile on Sunday, claiming that it can carry a "large nuclear warhead".

In a press statement released ahead of its emergency session on Tuesday, the 15-member council "strongly condemned" the launches that took place on April 29 and May 14, respectively. According to a report by the private intelligence firm Stratfor, "When China recently threatened to cut off fuel exports to North Korea if it conducted its sixth nuclear weapons test, Russian Federation hinted it could replace at least some of that supply".

The rocket, "newly designed in a Korean-style", flew 787 km and reached a maximum altitude of 2,111 km, the North said, and "verified the homing feature of the warhead under the worst re-entry situation and accurate performance of detonation system". Some experts, including officials in Tokyo, estimated Sunday's launch successfully tested a new type of missile, potentially the longest-range in North Korea's arsenal.

There are doubts whether the North can miniaturise a nuclear weapon sufficiently to fit it onto a missile nose cone, and no proof it has mastered the re-entry technology needed to ensure it survives returning into Earth's atmosphere.

Russian President Vladimir Putin called North Korea's latest missile test "counter-productive, harmful and risky".

Since the last resolution, the harshest to date, was adopted in November, an emphasis has been put on having all countries implement the sanctions measures - including China, which is the North's closest ally and is accused of laxity with loopholes.

North Korea's official Rodong Sinmun newspaper devoted half of its six-page Monday edition to coverage of the missile test, with vivid colour photographs of the launch and jubilant leader Kim Jong Un celebrating with military officers. Pyongyang is threatening a sixth nuclear test.

After being fired from a launch pad in the Kusong region early on Sunday, the projectile travelled around 500 miles before dropping into the Sea of Japan. The test also immediately closed the space for maneuvering for USA -allied South Korea's new president, who favors engaging North Korea.

But he slammed the latest test as a "reckless provocation" and said dialogue would be possible "only if the North changes its attitude".

"I want to confirm that we are categorically against the expansion of the club of nuclear powers, including with the Korean Peninsula and North Korea,"CNN quoted Putin, as saying, adding that any such move would be "harmful and dangerous".

South Korea's Han said Sunday's test was "successful in flight". The USS Carl Vinson, an aircraft carrier, is also engaging with South Korean navy ships in waters off the Korean Peninsula, according to Seoul's Defense Ministry.



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