Hero's welcome in Pyongyang for North's missile developers

South Korean President Moon Jae-in wipes tears during the 37th annual May 18 Democratic Uprising memorial at the Gwangju National Cemetery in Gwangju South Korea Thursday

The top US commander in the Pacific, meanwhile, warned that North Korea's nuclear weapons program is "a recipe for disaster", three days after the communist state test-fired what some said was its most successful missile.

In its previous missile launch at the end of April, North Korea's regime suffered a second failure in a row with its latest ballistic missile test attempt amid continuing tensions with the US and South Korea.

A day earlier, on Tuesday, the UN Security Council condemned the latest ballistic missile firing by North Korea. They scrutinize shipping traffic to parse whether the flow of oil and coal between North Korea and China might be diminishing, with potentially disastrous results for Kim Jong Un's regime. The North is counting on that dynamic to drive a wedge between the states with stakes in Northeast Asia - South Korea, China, Russia, Japan and the USA - that are crucial to the success of any campaign to force Pyongyang to negotiate.

This data underlines the progress made by Pyongyang in its efforts to develop an intercontinental nuclear missile in the future that can reach the U.S. and serve as a deterrent.

At the peak of the cold war, the Soviet Union had 2,350 ballistic missiles targeting the United States.

Last month, North Korea reconvened the Foreign Affairs Committee, which was abolished in the late 1990s, in what analysts saw as an attempt to improve relations with the outside world amid its deepening isolation.

"Combining nuclear warheads with ballistic technology in the hands of a volatile leader like Kim Jong-un is a recipe for a disaster", AP cited Harris as saying.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in center consoles family members of the deceased in front of a grave marker during the 37th annual May 18 Democratic Uprising memorial at the Gwangju National Cemetery in Gwangju South Korea Thursday
Hero's welcome in Pyongyang for North's missile developers

Although the two countries are allies, they are divided over the issue of whether South Korea has to pay for the Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (Thaad) anti-missile system deployed in the south of the country.

Expert observers suspect that the North Korean missile program is advancing much faster than originally expected, with some suggesting the North could develop an ICBM in one year rather than five.

"The reality is that there is a high possibility of a military conflict at the NLL [Northern Limit Line] and military demarcation line", Reuters cited Moon as saying.

Moon's envoy to Washington, South Korean media mogul Hong Seok-hyun, said Trump spoke of being willing to use engagement to ensure peace, Hong said in comments carried by television. "The ministry has conducted several internal reviews about how to restore it, but nothing specific has been scheduled yet".

"President Moon said he hopes I'd also pass on his gratitude to you for your message of congratulation and the telephone call after he was elected", Lee said, before reporters were asked to leave the room.

In the letter to 192 United Nations members and two observer states - dated Thursday - North Korea urged them to "reconsider any of their implementation activities until the legality of those "sanctions resolutions" are to be clarified". US President Donald Trump has recently made remarks to this end which have caused confusion in South Korea.

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