North Korea missile test is huge step forward

North Korea missile launch

In a statement, adopted unanimously, the 15-member council urged the communist nation to show "sincere commitment to denuclearization through concrete action".

Following that launch, Washington began talks with North Korean ally China on possible new United Nations sanctions.

The Security Council plans to convene a closed-door emergency meeting on North Korea on Tuesday afternoon, as jointly called by the United States, Japan and South Korea.

And on Monday, the regime's state-run Korean Central News Agency officially declared the test a "success", saying the USA mainland is now within the missile's striking range. "North Korea should not make an inaccurate judgment because of a changed [political] environment" in the South.

On Monday morning, North Korea officially confirmed that it had conducted the launch of a medium-range ballistic missile a day before.

North Korea launched a projectile early Sunday from near Kusong, close to the country's west coast, the South Korean military said.

The missile was launched on an unusually high trajectory, before splashing down in the Sea of Japan (East Sea).

British U.N. Ambassador Matthew Rycroft also called the test a threat to worldwide peace and security and said "the United Kingdom favors tougher sanctions".

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He added: "We need to return to dialogue with North Korea and stop scaring it and find ways to resolve these problems peacefully".

Council diplomats said the language was significant because China, North Korea's strongest ally, signed on.

North Korea fired the missile from the northwestern city of Kusong despite growing threats of increased sanctions from members of the worldwide community.

The North Korean leader claimed, "The U.S. massively brought nuclear strategic assets to the vicinity of the Korean peninsula to threaten and blackmail the DPRK, but the coward American-style fanfaronade militarily browbeating only weak countries and nations which have no nukes can never work on the DPRK and is highly ridiculous".

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". "So if their ICBM has three stages, and this is a single-stage missile, maybe we're watching the North Koreans test the first stage of what will be a multiple stage ICBM".

"If (electrical) circuits break and a trigger device fails to detonate nuclear fuel, you can imagine that only some twisted metal will fall on Alaska or Hawaii, even if North Korea fires missiles at them", said Kim Dong-yub, an analyst at Seoul's Institute for Far Eastern Studies.

North Korean news reports are often exaggerated - Pyongyang has threatened for decades to reduce Seoul to a "sea of fire", for instance - but Monday's claim, if confirmed, would mark another advance toward the North's goal of fielding a nuclear-tipped missile capable of reaching the US mainland.

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