The latest test confirmed the reliable late-stage guidance of the Pukguksong-2 missile's warhead and the functioning of its solid-fuel engine, the KCNA state news agency said.
North Korea said on Monday it successfully tested what it called an intermediate-range ballistic missile, which met all technical requirements and could now be mass-produced, although US officials and experts questioned the extent of its progress. While this might seem like just more saber-rattling from Pyongyang's leadership given the relatively continuous chain of test launches since President Donald Trump's inauguration (a total of 10 so far this year), this launch and the launch on May 13 carry a bit more weight.
Diplomats expressed collective frustration that the sanctions imposed by the United Nations for 11 years have reaped little benefit and have not prevented the government of North Korea from advancing its nuclear program, CBS News' Pamela Falk reports.
On Sunday afternoon, the North test-fired a ballistic missile, which flew more than 500 kilometers. A similar meeting was held on May 16 in the wake of the North's missile test two days earlier.
Western experts say that test did appear to have advanced North Korea's aim of developing an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching the US mainland, even if it is still some way off from achieving that capability. If launched from within North Korea, the missile could potentially strike all of Japan, South Korea, and even U.S. forces in Guam.
Tracked by the US' recently deployed Terminal High Altitude Air Defense (THAAD) system in South Korea, that launch was of another intermediate-range ballistic missile called the Hwasong-12.
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On Monday, South Korea's Unification Ministry spokesman Lee Duk-haeng said while Seoul would respond firmly to any North Korean "provocations", "it would not be desirable to have ties between the South and the North severed".
The North has been also trying to develop nuclear missiles, which will be able to carry nuclear loads to the U.S. mainland.
He noted the Pukguksong-2's solid fuel is of particular concern. North Korea's media said more missiles will be launched in the future.
"For military purposes, solid-fueled missiles have the advantage that they have the fuel loaded in them and can be launched quickly after they are moved to a launch site", David Wright, co-director of the Union of Concerned Scientists, said in a blog post. The North's progress on this front has anxious its neighbors, as the solid-fueled missile has a likely range of 1,000-2,000 km and can be moved and hidden more easily than its liquid-fueled counterpart.
"The missile, which travelled about 430 miles, is apparently a new design with a longer range than previously known North Korean weapons".It also had several pictures of the Earth said to have been taken from the rocket from space - the first such pictures released by the North.Trump's Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, has vowed further economic and diplomatic pressure on Pyongyang. That makes them easier to spot and easier to destroy. It said South Korea was analyzing whether a North Korean drone had crossed the border.