US and South Korean officials say rocket flew about 310 miles before landing in sea east of the country
North Korea fired a medium-range missile on Sunday, according to US and South Korean officials, the latest ballistics test by a country speeding up its development of nuclear weapons and missiles.
South Korea’s joint chiefs of staff said the rocket had been fired from an area near the North Korean county of Pukchang and had flown eastward for about 310 miles (500km). The US Pacific Command said it had tracked the missile before it landed in the sea.
White House officials travelling in Saudi Arabia with the US president, Donald Trump, said the system that was tested, which was last launched in February, had a shorter range than the missiles fired in North Korea’s most recent tests.
The US secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, said both economic and diplomatic pressure would continue to be applied to North Korea in the wake of the launch.
“The ongoing testing is disappointing, disturbing and we ask that they cease that,” Tillerson said on Sunday in an interview with Fox News.
The latest launch comes a week after North Korea successfully tested a new mid-range missile that it said could carry a heavy nuclear warhead.
North Korea has defied all calls to rein in its nuclear and missile programmes, even from China, its lone major ally, calling them legitimate self-defence.
A week ago North Korea claimed the US mainland was now within range of its missiles after it successfully test-fired a new rocket it said was capable of carrying a “large-scale, heavy nuclear warhead”.
The country’s leader, Kim Jong-un, accused the US of “browbeating” countries that “have no nukes”. He told Washington not to misjudge the reality that the US mainland was in Pyongyang’s “sighting range for [a] strike”, the KCNA state news agency reported.