Security Council May Meet at Request of Tokyo, Washington

People watch a South Korean TV news broacast showing file footage of a North Korean missile launch at a railway station in Seoul

People watch a South Korean TV news broacast showing file footage of a North Korean missile launch at a railway station in Seoul

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un supervised the launch of the Hwasong-12 missile on May 14 that reached an altitude of 2,111.5 kilometers (1,312 miles) and flew 787 kilometers.

Experts are viewing the launch as an escalation in Pyongyang's nuclear program, and an indication the North has made major advances in its quest to develop a ballistic missile capable of reaching the US.

The missile was first seen publicly at a military parade in Pyongyang on April 15, ABC News reported.

The South Korean president has repeatedly pledged to seek dialogue with North Korea, having served as chief of staff when the last inter-Korean summit took place in 2007.

The country launched a new type of missile into the sea of Japan earlier this week, and South Korean Defence Minister Han Min-koo told Parliament the test was "successful in flight".

North Korea is barred from ballistic missile technology under multiple Security Council resolutions. On Sunday, North Korea's news agency claimed that the missile was capable of carrying a nuclear warhead.

Pyongyang has carried out two atomic tests and dozens of missile launches since the beginning of 2016, with the Security Council adopting two sanctions resolutions a year ago to ramp up pressure and deny leader Kim Jong-Un the hard currency needed to fund his military programmes.

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Aside from Pyongyang's space launches, Jeffrey Lewis of the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in the United States told AFP: "This is the longest-range missile North Korea has ever tested".

KCNA cited Kim as saying the North would never succumb to what it called the "highly ridiculous" USA strategy of "militarily browbeating only weak countries and nations which have no nukes".

However, while THAAD's installation by the USA last month has been largely criticized by China-which has made claims the U.S.is only increasing tensions in the region and potentially could use the system's radar to spy on China-it did prove successful in detecting the North's latest in a number of tests that are escalating in frequency.

The missile seems to have been equipped with a new, high-powered engine that was tested at the Tongchang-ri launch pad in remote North Pyongan Province in mid-March. At the request of the United States and Japan, the United Nations Security Council will convene an urgent session on Tuesday to discuss the situation. It again demanded that Pyongyang conduct no further nuclear or ballistic missile tests.

Speaking Monday in Beijing, Putin said, "We are categorically against the expansion of the club of nuclear powers". He also urged other world leaders to "stop intimidating North Korea and find a peaceful solution to the problem".

North Korea, however, thus far has not displayed the capability to produce a nuclear warhead sufficiently compact to fly on its missiles.

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