North Korea missile test is huge step forward

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The test was seen as a demonstration of big progress the North has made in its pursuit of development of an continental ballistic missile capable of reaching the U.S. The U.S. military said that it detected the launch and that flight data indicated it was not an intercontinental ballistic missile.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is condemning the latest North Korean ballistic missile test as a violation of Security Council resolutions and a threat to peace and security in the region. 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.

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".

North Korea is banned under United Nations resolutions from engaging in nuclear and missile development, but has conducted its fifth nuclear test and a string of missile launches since the start of past year.

"The United States maintains our ironclad commitment to stand with our allies in the face of the serious threat posed by North Korea", the statement said.

U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley said on ABC television's George Stephanopolous show Sunday that the U.S. has been working well with China, Pyongyang's closest ally, and she raised the possibility of new sanctions against North Korea including on oil imports.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un reacts with members of the Korean People's Army scientists and engineers in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on May 15, 2017. Kim was reported to have witnessed the launch and "hugged officials in the field of rocket research, saying that they worked hard to achieve a great thing".

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The missile was launched at the highest angle so as not to affect the security of neighboring countries and flew 787 kilometers (490 miles) reaching an altitude of 2,111.5 kilometers (1,312 miles), KCNA said.

There's also a political victory for North Korea.

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 included the instillation of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile system that was strongly opposed not only by North Korea but also by China, whose leaders viewed it as a check on its growing military capabilities. While North Korean's arsenal of missiles is becoming clearer, there is less certainty about how developed its nuclear program is.

The test is unlikely to mark a new phase in North Korea's missile and nuclear ambitions.

The UN Security Council will hold closed consultations about the launch on Tuesday afternoon.

KCNA said Kim accused the United States of "browbeating" countries that "have no nukes", warning Washington not to misjudge the reality that its mainland is in the North's "sighting range for strike". In a show of force, the United States sent an aircraft carrier strike group, led by the USS Carl Vinson, to waters off the Korean peninsula to conduct drills with South Korea and Japan.

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