Technology

North Korea: New long-range missile can carry heavy nuke

The test was "aimed at verifying the tactical and technological specifications of the newly developed ballistic rocket capable of carrying a large-size heavy nuclear warhead".

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

Some outside analysts believe the Hwasong-12 missile, if proven in further tests, could help North Korea achieve its goal of developing missiles with nuclear warheads capable of reaching the US mainland. 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.

Even before North Korea gave its account of what happened, the launch caught the eye of experts.

North Korea has in the past year stepped up its ballistic missile tests, firing dozens of various types of rockets, according to South Korea.

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

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Sunday's test is also the first from North Korea since South Korean President Moon Jae-in took office last week.

"North Korea has been a flagrant menace for far too long", a statement released over the weekend said.

Each new nuclear and longer-range missile test is part of the North's attempt to build a nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missile.

The UN Security Council has condemned a yet another missile test held by North Korea and has again threatened with new sanctions against Pyongyang if it continues its provocative actions.

South Korea has said it was unaware of what North Korea was referring to, while the Central Intelligence Agency and the White House declined to comment on the May 6 statement from North Korea's Ministry of State Security.

It says the "era of strategic patience" with North Korea is over. The report also stated America's 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". North Korea on Monday, May 1.

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John Schilling, a North Korean analyst, wrote on 38 North that the regime's successful missile test represented a level of performance "never before seen" from a North Korean missile, adding that it would have flown a distance of some 4,500 kilometers if launched at a flatter trajectory, which would place all of South Korea, Japan and USA military bases in Guam within its reach.

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 North Korea if the circumstances were right.

The North has made no secret of its quest to develop a missile capable of delivering a nuclear warhead to the continental United States - something President Donald Trump has vowed "won't happen".

Trump has advocated for a diplomatic solution to the uptick in North Korean aggravations, but he said last month that he would not rule out a major conflict with North Korea.

On Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin condemned the launch as "counterproductive, damaging, dangerous".

The South Korean military is gathering and analyzing information.

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