UN Chief Condemns North Korea Ballistic Missile Launch

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un waves to the Korean People's Army construction department officials in Pyongyang

In a unanimous statement backed by China, the council has promised strong measures in response to Pyongyang's "highly destabilising behaviour" and demanded a halt to "further nuclear and ballistic missiles tests".

Following that launch, Washington began talks with North Korean ally China on possible new United Nations sanctions.

North Korean state media said Monday that the missile Pyongyang test-fired on Sunday is a new weapon, able to carry a heavy nuclear warhead to unprecedented distances - possibly as far as US soil.

South Korea's military said it could not yet verify the North's claims, but Pyongyang seems to have yet to master missile technology for "atmospheric reentry", a key element in developing an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). Dictator Kim Jong Un personally oversaw the launch and, according to state media, warned that US territories were within reach and that the North was capable of a retaliatory strike.

At the U.N., Francois Delattre, France's ambassador, said Security Council members are preparing to impose new sanctions and strengthen enforcement of existing ones.

North Korea is not thought to be able yet to make a nuclear warhead small enough to mount on a long-range missile, though some outside analysts think it can arm shorter-range missiles with warheads.

North Korea claims the missile was a new model.

Each round has increasingly put a stranglehold on the country for conducting underground nuclear tests on five occasions so far and for test-firing long-range and other ballistic missiles it is banned from using.

The South Korean official also said Pyongyang's public announcement of the missile test was "not appropriate".

China is feeling increasingly alienated from its wayward North Korean ally and Sunday's headline-grabbing missile launch won't have helped matters.

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In all, six sanction resolutions have been imposed on North Korea, since it carried out its first nuclear test in 2006. The aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson, which was ordered to the region last month, is still in the Sea of Japan, where the missile landed Sunday.

The missile would have flown about 4,500 kilometers at maximum trajectory, he wrote.

The closest United States coast is Los Angeles, California, which sits 5,000 miles away from North Korea. It quoted Kim as saying his country has "the most flawless weapon systems in the world", which he's ready to use to target the US if attacked.

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.

Subsequent missile tests suggest it has yet to achieve this goal, though it is making progress, as demonstrated by its most recent success.

Sunday's test came less than a week after South Korea elected a new president, Moon Jae-In, who advocates reconciliation with Pyongyang and had expressed a willingness to visit the North to ease tensions.

"What would change the strategic balance is an ICBM capable of reaching the USA mainland", he said.

"So we are going to be raising the level of engagement with China on this issue". Pyongyang has since threatened a sixth.

For its part, the US Treasury explained that it is considering all of its available tools to deny North Korea access to the worldwide financial system to rein in its nuclear weapons and missile development programs.

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