NKorea missile programme progressing faster than expected, says South


"The launch of such ballistic missiles is a serious threat to our country", Abe said, considering the action a grave threat to the region and a violation of United Nations resolutions on North Korea's arms programs.

A day before, North Korea fired off a missile that landed in the sea near Russian Federation.

A South Korean government minister has said North Korea's missile program is progressing faster than expected, just hours after the UN Security Council demanded the reclusive country to halt all nuclear and ballistic missile tests.

It also said that North Korea is "greatly increasing tension in the region and beyond" and that the country should immediately show "sincere commitment to denuclearisation through concrete action".

Yesterday the United Nations Security Council condemned North Korea's recent missile tests. The adoption of the statement comes on the eve of an emergency, closed-door meeting of the Security Council scheduled for Tuesday.

The missile was first seen publicly in a military parade in Pyongyang on April 15. It is believed that North Korea is carrying out launch tests with "lofted" trajectories to test the longer range capabilities of its new missiles without triggering a potential shoot down from the United States or Japan. It said the newly developed Hwasong-12 flew as high as 1,310 miles before landing in a targeted area in the ocean about 490 miles from the launch site.

It has been working to develop a nuclear-tipped missile capable of striking the US mainland, and experts say Sunday's test was another step toward that aim.

North Korea's foreign ministry rejected the statement, saying it infringed on its right to self-defense, particularly as the missile was sacked at a sharp angle to ensure the safety of neighboring countries. The missile covered a distance of roughly 800 kilometers while reaching an altitude of over 2,000 kilometers, in what appears to be the longest-range missile tested by Pyongyang to date.

The launch complicates the new South Korean president's plan to talk to the North, and came as U.S., Japanese and European navies gather for joint war games in the Pacific.

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Beijing is wary of piling on economic pressure that could cause North Korea's collapse, and it wasn't clear Monday if it would support new sanctions.

But he slammed the latest test as a "reckless provocation" and said dialogue would be possible "only if the North changes its attitude".

"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.

"The members of the Security Council expressed their utmost concern over the Democratic People's Republic of Korea's highly destabilizing behavior and flagrant and provocative defiance of the Security Council by conducting these ballistic missile launches in violation of its global obligations under United Nations Security Council resolutions (...)", the Security Council said.

Ju Yong Choi said US' criticism of it was a "wanton violation of the sovereignty and dignity of the DPRK [Democratic People's Republic of Korea]".

But the system might be adapted to provide it, in time, with an intercontinental ballistic missile that could strike the United States.

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 members also "reiterated the importance of maintaining peace and stability" on the Korean Peninsula.