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North Korea launches missile some experts say can hit US

The 'unidentified ballistic missile' was fired from a site near Banghyon in North Phyongan province, the South's military said in a statement. Photograph: (Reuters)

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Jul 04, 2017, 01.27 AM (IST)

North Korea launched a ballistic missile into the Sea of Japan on Tuesday, South Korea's military said.

According to Reuters, North Korea said it successfully test-launched an intercontinental ballistic missile for the first time, which flew a trajectory that experts said could allow a weapon to hit the US state of Alaska.

The "unidentified ballistic missile" was fired from a site near Banghyon in North Phyongan province, the South's military said in a statement, and came down in the Sea of Japan, AFP reported. The device may have come down in Japan's exclusive economic zone, a spokeswoman for Tokyo's defence ministry told AFP.

 

The latest launch sent the rocket 933 kilometres, reaching an altitude of 2,802 kilometres over a flight time of 39 minutes, Reuters reports. North Korea says it wants to develop a missile mounted with a nuclear warhead that can hit mainland USA.

To accomplish this, it would near an intercontinental ballistic missile with a range of 8,000 kilometres or more, a warhead small enough to be mounted, and technology to ensure it could be stable enough to re-enter the atmosphere.

Analysts are not in agreement. Some say the flight details from this latest test suggest the new missile has a range of more than 8,000 kilometres, and constitutes a serious advance, but other analysts disagree.

 

The launch is the latest in a series by North Korea since the start of the year. It comes just days South Korean President Moon Jae-In and US President Donald Trump focused on the threat from Pyongyang in their first summit.

Reacting to North Korea's latest missile test, Trump urged Beijing to "end this nonsense once and for all".

"Hard to believe that South Korea and Japan will put up with this much longer," he wrote on Twitter.

"Perhaps China will put a heavy move on North Korea and end this nonsense once and for all!"

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Last week, Trump expressed his frustration over "reckless and brutal" North Korea's unwillingness to halt its nuclear programme.

"Together, we are facing the threat of the reckless and brutal regime in North Korea. The nuclear and ballistic missile programs of that regime require a determined response," said Trump.

"The North Korean dictatorship has no regard for the safety and security of its people, for its neighbours and has no respect for human life... and frankly, that patience is over".

Meanwhile, the US military confirmed that North Korea had tested another missile. 

The Pacific Command said the land-based, intermediate range missile was tracked for 37 minutes and landed in the Sea of Japan. It did not pose a threat to North America, the command said in a statement.

"We are working with our Interagency partners on a more detailed assessment. We continue to monitor North Korea's actions closely. US Pacific Command stands behind our ironclad commitment to the security of our allies in the Republic of Korea and Japan," the statement added.

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