North Korea Celebrates Test Of New, Long-Range Missile

Friday, 19 May, 2017

In a unanimous statement backed by the North's main ally China, the council on Monday vowed to punish Pyongyang's "highly destabilizing behavior" and demanded a halt to any further nuclear or missile tests.

The statement also condemned an earlier ballistic missile launch by Pyongyang on April 28 - following that launch, Washington began talks with China on possible new United Nations sanctions.

That is a slap in the face for South Korea's new president, Moon Jae-in, who has promised greater engagement with the North, and suggests that the missile launch was an attempt to improve Pyongyang's negotiating position with a more hardline USA under President Donald Trump.

"The Secretary-General condemns the launch of another ballistic missile by the DPRK", Guterres's spokesman said in a statement. "This missile launch posed no threat to the Russian Federation".

After being fired from a launch pad in the Kusong region early on Sunday, the projectile travelled around 500 miles before dropping into the Sea of Japan.

The regime of President Kim Jong-un successfully test-fired a medium-range ballistic missile on Sunday that the United States military said landed about 60 miles off Russia's east coast. The last set of sanctions, imposed in March, capped China's imports of North Korean coal, a key cash earner for North Korea.

"The situation on the Korean peninsula is at the most unstable point since the armistice and the administration must immediately ramp up the sanctions track, especially against the Chinese that are enabling North Korea's nuclear program", he said.

The missile launch at around 5:27 a.m. on Sunday was detected by South Korean Navy's Aegis destroyer, Yulgok Yi I, two minutes later.

"More important", he added, it "might represent a substantial advance to developing an intercontinental ballistic missile".

There's also a political victory for North Korea.

This May 14, 2017, photo distributed by the North Korean government shows the "Hwasong-12", a new type of ballistic missile at an undisclosed location in North Korea.

The KCNA report said that, as ever, the test had been overseen by the North's Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un. Meanwhile, the United States has also urged China to use its influence over North Korea to de-escalate tensions.

That suggests a range of 4,500 kilometres (2,800 miles) or more if flown for maximum distance, analysts said.

"North Korea maintains conditions to carry out a nuclear test in Punggye-ri on a standing basis".

"We need to return to dialogue with North Korea and stop scaring it and find ways to resolve these problems peacefully, " he said.

U.S. Pacific Command said it tracked the flight of Sunday's missile and is "working closely with our Republic of Korea and Japanese allies to maintain security".