South Korea's Ministry of Defence said the Hwasong-15 missile tested on Wednesday was a new type of intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) which can fly over 13,000 km (8,080 miles), placing Washington within target range. Worldwide observers estimated that the missile traveled 2,800 miles straight up during the test, landing about 620 miles off the coast.
Analysts believe the launch shows that North Korea was only two or three tests away from being combat-ready.
The country's state media announced the test on Wednesday, hours after leader Kim Jong Un ordered the launch of the Hwasong-15 missile, which reached the highest altitude ever recorded by a North Korean missile. After French Sports Minister Laura Flessel suggested if security was not guaranteed athletes would stay home, numerous NOCs attempted to counter that.
But Moon remains optimistic that North Korea will still compete at Pyeongchang 2018.
The South Korean military established a "decapitation" brigade Friday created to eliminate North Korea's leadership in case of an emergency on the peninsula, defense ministry officials revealed.
"President Moon Jae-in told his USA counterpart that although it's clear that the new missile is North Korea's most advanced so far, it still has some technical issues to settle such as re-entry, terminal stage guidance and warhead activation". Before speaking on the phone with Trump, Moon reportedly was briefed on the Hwasong-15 by the National Security Office.
"The two leaders agreed on the need to maintain their basic stance of putting strong sanctions and pressure on the North until North Korea voluntarily gives up developing nukes and missiles and comes out for dialogue", Cheong Wa Dae said.
Cheong Wa Dae: Debate on 'Red Line' against N. Korea Meaningless
"The North Korean threat is very grave".
"South Korea believes the United States should go first in bilateral talks with North Korea, with South Korea following as a second step", Lee said to ATR.
North Korea on Tuesday broke a two-month lull in weapons testing.
"Depending on how the USA moves next, South Korea could possibly expect a more negotiation-friendly North Korea in the next year, with a more positive approach towards inter-Korean cooperation".
North Korea reacted to reports about the special force earlier this week.
House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer said in a statement that the launch of a ballistic missile capable of delivering a nuclear payload across thousands of miles - far enough to threaten cities in the continental United States - violates global laws and demands a strong worldwide response.
The country's Air Force declared the creation of a airborne intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) unit responsible for monitoring the North Korea's activities, working in close coordination with the United States.
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