It said the projectile reached an altitude of 1,731 miles and flew 583 miles before hitting a target in the sea.
Earlier the US Pacific Command said it was an intermediate range missile.
Image source Wikipedia
While Pyongyang has appeared to have made progress, experts believe North Korea does not have the capability to accurately target a place with an intercontinental ballistic missile, or miniaturize a nuclear warhead that can fit on to such a missile.
South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in has called on the UN Security Council to take steps against North Korea over its latest missile test.
Moon Jae-in has ordered security and diplomatic officials to seek “Security Council measures in close co-operation with the country’s allies, including the United States,” his chief press secretary Yoon Young-chan told reporters.
South Korea’s military said it could not yet verify North Korea’s claims.
However it said North Korea’s missiles did appear to be able to leave and re-enter the atmosphere, which is crucial to developing intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), the Yonhap news agency reported.
The US and Japan have called for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council on May 16.
North Korea’s KCNA state news agency said on May 15 that the test of a “newly developed mid/long-range strategic ballistic rocket, Hwasong-12” had gone to plan.
“The test-fire aimed at verifying the tactical and technological specifications of the newly developed ballistic rocket capable of carrying a large-size heavy nuclear warhead,” it said.
North Korea is known to be developing both nuclear weapons – it has conducted five nuclear tests – and the missiles capable of delivering those weapons to their target. Both are in defiance of UN sanctions.
However, it remains unclear whether it has the ability to make the weapons small enough to be mounted on a rocket, and it has never tested a long-range ICBM which could reach, for example, the US.
ICBM’s are considered to have a range of about 6,000km, but analysts believe the missile tested on May 14 would have travelled about 4,000km if it had been fired at a standard trajectory rather than upwards.
The KCNA report said that, as ever, the test had been overseen by North Korea’s Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un.
It said Kim Jong-un had told the scientists and technicians involved “not to be complacent” but to build further “nuclear weapons and methods of delivery” until the US made “the right choice”.
In a statement on May 14, the White House said Pyongyang had been “a flagrant menace for far too long” and that this “latest provocation” should “serve as a call for all nations to implement far stronger sanctions”.
Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the UN, said on May 14 that until Kim Jong-un meets the US conditions, “we’re not sitting down with him”.
South Korea’s newly elected President Moon Jae-in, who is seeking deeper engagement with North Korea, said it was a “reckless provocation”.
Kim Jong-un has said North Korea is close to testing long-range missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads.
During his New Year’s message, Kim Jong-un claimed that the intercontinental ballistic missiles were in their “last stage” of development.
North Korea has conducted two nuclear tests in 2016, including its biggest one to date.
This raised fears that Pyongyang has made significant nuclear advances.
However, it has never successfully test-fired such a missile.
Reuters reported a senior US military official as saying that although Pyongyang appears able to put a miniaturized nuclear warhead on a missile, the missile re-entry technology necessary for longer range strikes is still a serious obstacle to its weapons development.
Kim Jong-un, who took control of the secretive state following his father’s death in 2011, said during a TV addresss: “Research and development of cutting edge arms equipment is actively progressing and ICBM [inter-continental ballistic missile] rocket test launch preparation is in its last stage.”
The north Krean leader said his country was now a “military power of the East that cannot be touched by even the strongest enemy”.
UN resolutions call for an end to North Korea’s nuclear and missile tests.
When Pyongyang tested its nuclear bomb in September 2016, estimates varied on how strong it was.
The September test triggered widespread condemnation and further international sanctions against North Korea.
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