North Korea confirms details of missile launch

North Korea Sunday test-fired a ballistic missile, the latest in a series of launches which have sparked global condemnation and threats of tougher United Nations sanctions.

North Korean strongman Kim Jong-un isn't giving South Korea's new leader much room to try out a softer approach toward his regime.

Kim In Ryong told reporters that the U.S.' hostile policy towards North Korea is "the root of all problems" and that regardless of US sanctions, Pyongyang would never abandon its "nuclear deterrence for self-defense and pre-emptive strike capability".

"Our military is closely monitoring signs for additional provocation by the North Korean military and we are keeping a full military readiness", said a statement from the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The launch "completely verified" the reliability and accuracy of the device, and its late-stage warhead guidance system, KCNA said, adding the test results were "perfect".

South Korea's military said Monday that North Korea's newly developed ballistic missile, called the Pukguksong-2, is seen as a medium-range ballistic missile with a range of up to 2,500 kilometers. "This system, last tested in February, has a shorter range than the missiles launched in North Korea´s three most recent tests", the official said on condition of anonymity.

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In its latest effort to develop its ballistic and nuclear weapons, North Korea fired a medium-range missile Sunday that appeared to be similar to one the country tested earlier this year, US and South Korean officials said.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Sunday it was too early to know if the worldwide pressures being exerted on North Korea to discourage its weapons programs were having an impact.

Japanese Defense Minister Tomomi Inada said the missile fell into the Sea of Japan about 217 miles from the east coast of North Korea and did not go higher than 620 miles, according to preliminary data.

The February launch, the North's first missile test after Trump took office, alarmed neighbors because solid-fuel missiles can be fired more quickly than liquid-fuel missiles, which need to be fueled before launch and require a larger number of vehicles, including fuel trucks, that could be spotted by satellites.

This latest missile launch came just a week after the North Korean government fired a new kind of ballistic missile, apparently a smaller version of one of its ICBM prototypes, that flew 435 miles.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said he wants to raise the issue of North Korean missile launches at the G7 summit in Italy.

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A test run of the hotline, which was cut off by North Korea past year, could lead to a "working-level contact and even to senior-level talks", according to Yang. "This is the DPRK´s answer to the Trump administration", it said, referring to the national philosophy of "Juche" or self-reliance. The country has also conducted a slew of rocket launches as it continues to advance its arsenal of ballistic weapons, which include midrange solid-fuel missiles that could be fired from mobile land launchers or submarines.

North Korea fired a solid-fuel ballistic missile Sunday that can be harder for outsiders to detect before launch and later said the test was hailed as flawless by leader Kim Jong Un.

Earlier Yonhap News Agency said it was not believed to be an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), citing an anonymous source.

Seoul's foreign ministry slammed the "reckless and irresponsible" firing as "throwing cold water on the hope and longing of the new government and the worldwide community" for denuclearization and peace on the Korean peninsula.

Experts say solid fuel engines and mobile launchers make it more hard to detect signs of launch preparations.

In a guest contribution this month to a government-run website that explains policies, Mr Yang, 57, said the recovery of ties should start by re-opening a hotline between North and South Korea at the border village of Panmunjom.

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