Putin calls for an end to 'intimidation' of North Korea

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Outside observers saw an important technological jump in Sunday's test.

North Korean President Kim Jong Un reportedly said Monday the ballistic missile testing over the weekend was part of his country's efforts to expand their nuclear weapons program.

In a statement released on Monday, the 15 members of the UN Security Council strongly condemned Pyongyang's ballistic missile test that occurred over the weekend.

The missile flew for half an hour on Sunday.

The high altitude reached by the missile indicates the missile is capable of reaching the broader limits of a medium-range missile's maximum range.

USA defense officials said it landed about 60 miles from the Russian coast.

"North Korea's latest successful missile test represents a level of performance never before seen from a North Korean missile", John Schilling, an aerospace expert, wrote in an analysis Sunday for 38 North, a leading monitor on North Korea.

Lee Dong-ryul, from South Korea's Dongduk Women's University, said that as China's influence on North Korea shrank, one of the few effective measures left in Beijing's toolkit was cutting off its oil supply to North Korea.

"Successive administrations over 25 years have attempted to engage China unsuccessfully, but, for the first time, the Chinese appear to be focused on containing the nuclear ambitions of North Korea, so I think the [Trump] administration is pursuing a correct strategy", Faso said. The country's dictator Kim Jong Un is warning (he's done it before) that the country is well on its way to striking the US mainland and military bases throughout the Pacific Ocean. The Hwasong-12 missile launched from the area of Kuson, northwestern Phyongan-bukto (North Pyongan) province covered a distance of 787 km, reaching an altitude of 2,111 km as reported by DPRK media reports and landing near the coast of Japan. North Korea, as with [U.S. President Barack] Obama in 2009, showed they will act no differently with a liberal progressive than they did with his conservative predecessor [President George W. Bush].

"This is a key step [in nuclear missile development] and something they now can not do", said a defense official familiar with intelligence reports. "That's the good news", Union of Concerned Scientists co-director David Wright told VOA.

Before Sunday's launch, an intermediate-range missile called Musudan was thought to have the longest potential range among the missiles that North Korea has test-fired - about 3,500 kilometers (2,180 miles).

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The distance to Hawaii, headquarters for USA military operations in the Pacific, is 7,400 km. "Now you're going to see the entire worldwide community isolate North Korea and let them know that this is not acceptable".

KCNA said the test showed North Korea "has all powerful means for retaliatory strike" should Washington take any military action to stop its nuclear weapons program.

Over the weekend, Spicer issued a statement saying North Korea's test missile hit close to Russian Federation, and that "the president can not imagine that Russian Federation is pleased".

"I would like to confirm that we are categorically against the expansion of the club of nuclear states, including through the Korean Peninsula", Putin told reporters.

But in a stern warning all-but-certainly targeting the U.S., Putin added that "intimidating (North Korea) is unacceptable".

China is North Korea's major trading partner and its ally.

Analysts said the UN Security Council would likely discuss new sanctions, with China possibly playing a role in their formation. But it called for restraint to avoid increasing hostilities in the area. "But its overwhelming emphasis is diplomatic and economic sanctions".

China, Pyongyang's sole major ally and main trading partner, which has been under growing USA pressure to help rein in its wayward neighbour, urged restraint.

Earlier this month, U.S. President Donald Trump said he would be "honored" to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un "under the right circumstances".

It also tested the North's capability to carry a "large-size heavy nuclear warhead", KCNA said.

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