North Korea says intermediate-range missile is ready for mass-production

North Korea's claim of a solid-fuel missile test, if true, could also mean Pyongyang can swiftly target South Korea's missile defense system KAMD, as well as US military bases in Japan and the Pacific.

Pyongyang's latest launch came just one week after the North fired a Hwasong-12 intermediate-range missile, which according to Pyongyang is capable of carrying a "heavy nuclear warhead".

"South Korean and USA intelligence authorities assess that North Korea, through its missile launch yesterday, has secured meaningful data for improving the credibility of its missile technology", said Roh Jae-cheon, spokesman for South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The North has vowed to develop a missile mounted with a nuclear warhead that can strike the mainland United States, saying the programme is necessary to counter US aggression.

"It's believed to be an MRBM in terms of the flight distance when launched at a normal angle", Army Col. Roh Jae-cheon, spokesman for the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), told reporters about the latest missile fired by North Korea, according to Yonhap news.

"There was a basic exchange of opinions about North Korea's nuclear and missile provocations", Yoon said about the meeting between Chung and Pottinger.

State-run KCNA news service said Kim ordered Sunday's test launch from an observation post and "expressed his great satisfaction" with the results.

North Korea conducted two nuclear tests a year ago alone, possibly improving its ability to make nuclear weapons small enough to fit on long-range missiles.

The UN Security Council, America, Russia and South Korea condemned the last test, which flew close to Russia and crashed into the Sea of Japan last weekend.

The launch marked the country's second missile test in a little more than a week as the country continues to defy orders for it to reign in its nuclear and missile program. He added that he "approved the deployment of this weapon system for action".

U.S. President Donald Trump has warned that a "major, major conflict" with North Korea is possible over its weapons programs, although U.S. officials say tougher sanctions, not military force, are the preferred option to counter the North Korean threat. Its two nuclear tests previous year may have improved its ability to make nuclear weapons small enough to fit on long-range missiles.

An array of United States aircraft would streak across the skies over the peninsula in a narrow battlespace, fighting a multi-nation war in small area and targeting key North Korean military positions.

"Juche", in this usage, refers to domestically produced and DPRK is short for the North's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

In a statement Sunday, the South's Foreign Ministry called the tests "reckless and irresponsible actions throwing cold water over the hopes and desires of this new government and the worldwide community for denuclearization and peace on the Korean Peninsula".

The missile tested was the Pukguksong-2, which uses solid fuel that allows for immediate firing, KCNA said.

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