North Korea says intermediate-range missile is ready for mass-production


South Korea's military said its analytical data proved so far that North Korea did "appear to have tested something similar to a Pukguksong-2" for the second time Sunday, but that the Pukguksong-2 was assessed by local authorities to be a medium-range ballistic missile, not an intermediate-range one as Pyongyang claims.

The North Korean national news agency announced the Supreme Leader personally witnessed the Sunday's nuclear test and its main goal is to verify the condition of the Pukguksong-2 missile's engine.

Today, KCNA said the latest test follows the successful test last week of another missile that has put Hawaii and Alaska within range.

White House officials traveling in Saudi Arabia with President Donald Trump said the system that was tested had a shorter range than the missiles fired in North Korea's most recent tests.

North Korea launched the solid-fuel Pukguksong-2 missile Sunday.

Under UN resolutions, North Korea is barred from developing nuclear and missile technology.

US President Donald Trump, who is now visiting Saudi Arabia, has not yet respond to North Korea's latest act of provocation.

After issuing an order to launch the missile at the observation post, Kim analysed with officials the results of the test-launch.

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US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Sunday it was too early to know if the global pressures being exerted on North Korea to discourage its weapons programs were having an impact.

Uruguay's mission to the U.N. said the meeting was requested by the United States, South Korea and Japan.

A North Korean mid-range ballistic missile apparently failed shortly after launch Saturday, South Korea and the United States said, the second such test-fire flop in recent weeks but a clear message of defiance as a US supercarrier conducts drills in nearby waters. The path of the missile, which flew about 310 miles before landing in the Sea of Japan, was monitored by the South Korean military and the U.S. Pacific Command.

More recently the United States has said it is willing to enter into talks with North Korea if it halts its nuclear and missile tests. The weapon is a two-stage, solid-fueled, canister-launched missile fired from a road-mobile Transporter Erector Launcher (TEL). On Saturday, it said it had developed the capability to strike the U.S. mainland, although Western missile experts say the claim is exaggerated.

Analysts said the Hwasong travelled further than any previous ballistic missile launched by the North.

The test came one week after Pyonyang successfully tested another type of missile that it boasted was capable of reaching the USA armed with a nuclear warhead.

France's UN Ambassador Francois Delattre said he hopes the council will move ahead on a strong new resolution that imposes tougher new sanctions against North Korea and requires better implementation of existing sanctions. If the North ever obtains a solid-fuel ICBM, it would likely be a rocket powered by a cluster of several Pukguksong-2 engines, Kim said.