Seoul says NKorean object that drew fire was likely balloon

David Wright, an expert on North Korea's missiles and nuclear program with the Union of Concerned Scientists, said the latest missile could have flown farther but was sacked on a "lofted" trajectory, which sends the missile high up so that it will land in the open seas rather than flying over or splashing down near neighboring countries.

North Korea said it's ready to deploy and start mass-producing a new medium-range missile capable of reaching Japan and major U.S. military bases there following a test launch Sunday, May 21, 2017, it claimed confirmed the missile's combat readiness and is an "answer" to U.S. President Donald Trump's policies.

Video footage released by North Korea's state-run Korean Central Television on Monday show the firing of the Pukguksong-2 ballistic missile, the regime's latest missile test held Sunday afternoon.

All 15 council members, including the North's closest ally China, approved the statement which accused the North of "destabilizing behavior and flagrant and provocative defiance".

He told reporters on Monday that France hopes the council will move ahead on a strong resolution that demands better implementation of existing sanctions and tougher new sanctions against North Korea.

The North followed up with a weekend test-launch and declared Monday that it is ready to start mass-producing the new medium-range ballistic missile which it said is capable of reaching Japan and major US military bases there.

U.S. Pacific Command said it tracked the missile until it landed into the sea.

Its state media, meanwhile, have stepped up their calls for even more missile launches because of what the government says is an increasingly hostile policy from President Trump.

The fresh North Korean test was again carried out in violation of UN Security Council (UNSC) resolutions.

"This system, last tested in February, has a shorter range than the missiles launched in North Korea's three most recent tests", a White House official said.

Rodong Sinmun, the official daily of the ruling Workers' Party, published dozens of colour photos of Sunday's Pukguksong 2 missile launch, including several pictures of the Earth taken from a high altitude (the missile reached a maximum altitude of 560 km), Efe news reported.

The test-firing came just one week after the North launched a Hwasong-12 intermediate-range missile, which according to Pyongyang was capable of carrying a "heavy" nuclear warhead.

According to South Korea's Yonhap news agency, North Korean official Kang Sam-hyon said: "The CIA of the United States and the intelligence service of South Korea, hotbed of evils in the world, hatched a vicious plot to hurt the supreme leadership of the DPRK".

Seoul also said the Pukguksong-2 missile used solid fuel, which is harder to produce than liquid fuel, but which is more stable and can be transported in the missile tank to allow for a swift launch. That makes them easier to spot and easier to destroy.

Analysts said that at 4,500 km the Hwasong-12 had a longer range than any previous ballistic missile successfully tested by the North, putting USA bases on the Pacific island of Guam within reach - and that it could serve as a platform to develop a long-range inter-continental ballistic missile.

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