N.Korea fires missile in wake of Moon-Trump summit
North Korea tested a suspected mid-range ballistic missile Tuesday, according to military officials in South Korea, where President Moon Jae-in responded by convening the National Security Council.
However, the North claimed the test involved an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) with a much greater range.
"North Korea fired an unidentified ballistic missile into the East Sea [Sea of Japan] from the vicinity of Banghyon, North Pyongan province, at around 9.40 a.m. local time (0040GMT)," Seoul's Joint Chiefs of Staff was quoted by the Yonhap news agency.
"It flew more than 930 kilometers [580 miles]."
The North's sixth missile test since Moon took office in May came just days after he visited the U.S. for his first summit with President Donald Trump.
Their talks cemented Seoul's plan to push for dialogue with Pyongyang while aiming to denuclearize the authoritarian state.
North Korea later announced its first successful ICBM test via state media, claiming the missile involved was a Hwasong-14 that reached an altitude of 2,802 km (1,740 miles) and flew 933 km (580 miles) for 39 minutes before landing in the East Sea.
The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said leader Kim Jong-un had ordered and observed the test.
COULD REACH ALASKA
"The success of the ICBM launch at its first trial is the final gateway to completing our nuclear force," KCNA reported. "It marked a phenomenal event in our history as we are pursuing the dual-track policy of nuclear and economic development."
A South Korean military official cited by Yonhap said the missile may have a range of 6,000 km (3,730 miles), meaning it could potentially reach Alaska.
Moon convened a National Security Council meeting late Tuesday, demanding UN action.
North Korean media also carried a statement Tuesday that said peace on the peninsula could be achieved through the withdrawal of American troops and weapons rather than South Korea's "subservience" to the U.S.
Pyongyang's Central Committee of the Democratic Front for the Reunification of Korea condemned Moon for not seeking dialogue "without Washington's approval."
The North has been repeatedly punished by the UN Security Council for carrying out rogue nuclear and missile tests. South Korea, by contrast, adheres to strict U.S. guidelines, including limiting its ballistic missile range to no more than 800 km (500 miles).
In a New Year's message, Kim said his country had entered the final stage of preparing an ICBM capable of hitting the U.S. mainland.
Pyongyang carried out around 30 ballistic missile tests last year and has tested five nuclear devices since 2006, according to Yonhap.