EU, NATO condemn North Korea missile test as 'threat to peace'


North Korea on Sunday launched what it said was a new type of "medium long-range" ballistic rocket that can carry a heavy nuclear warhead.

Kim warned that the US should not misjudge the reality that its 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", it added.

"It appears to have not only demonstrated an intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) that might enable them to reliably strike the U.S. base at Guam, but more importantly, may represent a substantial advance to developing an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM)", it said.

It marked the North's first provocation since South Korea's new President Moon Jae-in took office Wednesday.

North Korea is believed to be developing an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of carrying a nuclear warhead and reaching the mainland United States. "We are against it and consider it counterproductive, damaging, dangerous", he said.

For its part, North Korea said the missile test was in response to the nuclear dangers and threats posed by the United States and its followers.

North Korea has yet again fired off another ballistic missile in direct violation of United Nations resolutions forbidding the rogue regime from engaging in such aggressive military activities.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un observed the launch of the rocket, called the Hwasong-12, on Sunday, according to the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

On Monday, North Korean state media showed photos of Kim Jong Un laughing and hugging his rocket scientists after the launch, which he personally oversaw, the report said. The latest "provocation" should serve as a call for all nations to implement far stronger sanctions against the North, it said.

Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, is now in the Chinese capital for the Silk Road summit, the world's biggest draw in terms of top leaders this year, and is unlikely to be amused by the latest North Korean act of aggression.

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But the agency also claimed the test did not show the missile's full potential by any means, explaining that Sunday's missile was launched at the highest possible angle so as not to affect the security of its neighbors.

On Saturday, a top North Korean diplomat in charge of US relations, Choe Son Hui, told reporters in Beijing that Pyongyang would be willing to meet with the Trump administration for negotiations "if the conditions are set".

South Korea's unification ministry warned that North Korea should not miscalculate the situation.

Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said the latest test shows Kim is "in a state of paranoia" and that Washington will "continue to tighten the screws" on his regime.

As the Daily Mail reported earlier this week, North Korea, in the midst of saying it is considering talks with the United States about the two countries' tense relationship, fired a ballistic missile from Kusong to about 500 miles (805 kilometers) out into the Sea of Japan.

RT reported that Russia's ballistic missile launch early warning system (SPRN) had tracked the North Korean missile throughout its flight.

John Schilling, an aerospace engineer and North Korea specialist, said the missile would have flown some 2,800 miles if launched on a maximum trajectory.

"Despite strong warning from the global community, North Korea launched a ballistic missile again", Abe said.

Moon, South Korea's first liberal leader in almost a decade, said as he took his oath of office last week that he'd be willing to visit the North if the circumstances were right. The latest test was the North's first launch since a controversial USA missile defence system deployed in the South became operational on May 2.

But analysts say that North Korea's weapons program is likely too far advanced for him to be able to return to the type of sunshine policies his liberal predecessors favored.