UNSC to hold urgent consultations on NKorea missile test

On Monday, Pyongyang made the extraordinary claim that its latest test proved the country had a rocket capable of carrying a large nuclear warhead and that the U.S. mainland and its military base on the Pacific island of Guam were now within its "sighting range for strike".

Outsiders saw a significant technological jump in the weekend test, with the rocket apparently flying higher and for a longer time than any other such previous missile.

Amid condemnation in Seoul, Tokyo and Washington, a jubilant North Korean leader Kim Jong Un promised more nuclear and missile tests and warned that his country's weapons could strike the USA mainland and Pacific holdings.

North Korea has been developing a long-range missile capable of striking the mainland United States mounted with a nuclear warhead.

The timing of the launch also was a blow to North Korea's main ally China, which began a two-day summit to promote a global trade infrastructure project dubbed the "one belt, one road initiative", on Sunday.

Gulp. Experts are calling the latest missile test in North Korea successful at "a level of performance never before seen from a North Korean missile".

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

The U.N. Security Council will be holding private consultations Tuesday afternoon regarding North Korea's recent missile testing. Hawaii is roughly 7,000 km from North Korea.

"That's not the full operational seamless capability that we want but it has an initial ability to be able to defeat North Korean missiles", he said.

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North Korea fired a missile into the sea Sunday, slapping South Korea's new president with a major security challenge four days after he took office with a call for dialogue in dealing with the communist state.

Despite North Korea's claim that Sunday's test simulated a re-entry situation, South Korean defence officials say the North probably has yet to master the technology.

That signalled a new phase in applying sanctions that curb exports of coal from North Korea, impose severe restrictions on banking and ban sales of luxury goods and equipment that could be of use to the military.

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".

There's also a political victory for North Korea.

Russian President Vladimir Putin condemned the missile launch, telling reporters during a visit to China that "there's nothing good about" it.

The Trump administration has given mixed signals about his approach to the North, vowing to keep the possibility of military action on the table and deploying several warships in the region, while pledging to pursue a more diplomatic policy of "maximum pressure and engagement".

Jin Meihua, from the Northeast Asia Research Centre in Jilin province, said: "North Korea must have somehow prepared for possible further sanctions before this latest test".

Six-party talks involving the North, the U.S., South Korea, Russia, China and Japan broke down in 2009. 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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