North Korea's Missile Program Is Progressing Faster Than Expected: South Korea

North Korea's Missile Program Is Progressing Faster Than Expected: South Korea

This set of photos carried by North Korea's main newspaper Rodong Sinmun on May 15, 2017, shows a new North Korean mid-to-long-range ballistic missile, called the Hwasong-12, which was launched a day earlier. But leader Kim Jong Un has promised a sixth nuclear test, warning that his country's weapons could strike the USA mainland.

"The launch of such ballistic missiles is a serious threat to our country", Abe said, considering the action a grave threat to the region and a violation of United Nations resolutions on North Korea's arms programs.

North Korea claims the missile is a new type of rocket, capable of carrying a large nuclear warhead. The missile covered a distance of roughly 800 kilometers while reaching an altitude of over 2,000 kilometers, in what appears to be the longest-range missile tested by Pyongyang to date.

President Donald Trump's administration has called for an immediate halt to Pyongyang's provocations and has warned that the "era of strategic patience" with North Korea is over.

But, he added: "We must stop intimidating North Korea and find a peaceful solution to this problem".

Pyongyang has regularly threatened to destroy the United States, which it accuses of pushing the Korean peninsula to the brink of nuclear war by conducting recent military drills with South Korea and Japan.

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South Korean Defense Minister Han Min-koo told parliament that Sunday's test-launch was "successful in flight".

A day before, North Korea fired off a missile that landed in the sea near Russian Federation.

Kim Jong-un personally oversaw the missile launch on Sunday, and was pictured celebrating with his officials afterward.

The US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, told ABC television that new sanctions against North Korea could hit oil imports and energy. Meanwhile, the United States has also urged China to use its influence over North Korea to de-escalate tensions.

The North's state-run media agency said Sunday's test involved a mid-to-long range ballistic missile that could be blasted off and out of the planet's atmosphere and then return, and quoted leader Kim Jong Un as saying the USA mainland is in "sighting range for a strike".

A reliable missile must endure at least 10 successful test launches, according to Professor Chae Yeon-seok at South Korea's University of Science & Technology.

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