What you need to know about North Korea's missile test

North Korea on Sunday launched what it said was a new type of "medium long-range" ballistic rocket that can carry a heavy nuclear warhead.

But after a number of recent missile tests failed very publicly, Sunday afternoon saw the test-firing of a missile that came closer to Russian Federation than any previous launches.

An undated photo released 15 May 2017 by North Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) showing North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (C) viewing a missile, believed to be Hwasong-12.

North Korean propaganda must be considered with wariness, but Monday's claim, if confirmed, would mark another big advance toward the North's goal of fielding a nuclear-tipped missile capable of reaching the USA mainland.

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

The missile was launched on an unusually high trajectory, with KCNA saying it flew to an altitude of 2,111.5 kilometres and travelled 787 kilometres before coming down in the Sea of Japan (East Sea).

The new ballistic missile, named Hwasong-12, was sacked at the highest possible angle to avoid affecting neighboring countries' security and flew 787 kilometers after reaching an altitude of 2,111 kilometers, KCNA said.

Japanese officials said the missile flew for about 800 kilometers before landing in the Sea of Japan.

This range is considerably longer than the estimated range of the Musudan missile, which showed a range of about 3,000 km in a test a year ago.

Moon, a strong apologist for former Presidents Kim Dae-jung and Roh Moo-hyun's Sunshine Policy, which highlighted engagement with the North, took a more critical tone Sunday, calling the missile test a "blatant violation of the UN Security Council resolutions" and a "grave threat" to the Korean Peninsula and the global security.

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North Korea said it fired the missile at a high angle to avoid neighbouring countries.

The launch jeopardises new South Korean president Moon Jae-in's willingness to talk to the North, and came as US, Japanese and European navies gather for joint war games in the Pacific.

The U.N. Security Council is due to meet Tuesday to discuss North Korea's latest missile, which the White House said should "serve as a call for all nations to implement far stronger sanctions" against Pyongyang.

Beijing has cited United Nations resolutions for all of its measures against North Korea.

South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said it was sacked toward the east at around 5:30 AM local time from near Kusong in the northwestern province of Pyongan-pukdo. He also warned North Korea not to test his resolve.

The US military's Pacific Command said the type of missile fired was "not consistent" with an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), according to Reuters reports.

US President Donald Trump's administration has made North Korea a priority security issue.

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".

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. The USS Carl Vinson, an aircraft carrier, is also engaging with South Korean navy ships in waters off the Korean Peninsula, according to Seoul's Defense Ministry.

  • Desiree Holland