In testing missile, North Korea challenges South's new leader


"North Korea launched a ballistic missile at 5:27am this morning in Pyongan Province", South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said, adding, that it is now analyzing the launch.

Moon, who was declared the victor on Tuesday of the presidential election, said he will "sincerely negotiate" with the United States, South Korea's chief ally, and China, South Korea's top trading partner, over the contentious deployment of the USA anti-missile system THAAD.

Moon, who favors a softer approach to the North than his conservative predecessors, strongly condemned the launch during an emergency national security meeting, calling it a clear violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions and a serious challenge to global peace and security, according to senior presidential secretary Yoon Young-chan.

North Korea fired a ballistic missile on Sunday in defiance of calls to rein in its weapons program, South Korean and US officials said, days after a new leader took office in the South, pledging to engage it in dialogue.

Moon won Tuesday's election on a platform of a moderate approach to North Korea and has said he would be willing to go to Pyongyang under the right circumstances, arguing dialog must be used in parallel with sanctions to resolve its neighbor's defiance of the worldwide community. He says Japan and the USA also started discussing the sanctions on North Korea, but did not elaborate. The statement pointed out that the missile landed closer to Russian Federation than to Japan.

"The type of missile is being assessed and the flight was not consistent with an intercontinental ballistic missile", added the spokesperson for the United States military's Pacific Command.

Shen Dingli, a professor of worldwide relations at Fudan University in Shanghai, says North Korea conducted the test to show its "determination to develop nuclear weapons and missiles remains unchanged".

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The US calculated that the missile landed in water 60 miles south of Russia's Vladivostok region, an American security official told CNN.

Trump's national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, had phone conversations with his counterparts in Japan and South Korea to discuss the situation.

He said South Korea will respond to provocations.

"The timing is not coincidental", Schuster said, adding that Kim may be trying to get Putin more involved on the situation on the Korean Peninsula.

The missile was launched from a site near the northwestern city of Kusong, according to the South's Joint Chiefs of Staff. Delegations from Washington, Seoul and Pyongyang are gathering in Beijing on Sunday to attend China's new Silk Road forum, its biggest diplomatic event of the year.

"Let this latest provocation serve as a call for all nations to implement far stronger sanctions against North Korea", the White House said in a brief statement.

South Korea's Yonhap News Agency reported the missile traveled about 435 miles.

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"The top nuclear envoys agreed to closely consult with each other about future responses including measures to be taken by the United Nations Security Council", a ministry official said.

Trump has threatened military action but recently appeared to have softened his stance, saying he would be "honored" to meet leader Kim Jong-Un under the right conditions.

The missiles appear to be the same KN-17 scud variant that failed in recent launches.

It impacted "so close to Russian soil ... the president can not imagine that Russia is pleased", the White House said. The Japanese military stated that the missile reached an altitude of 2,000 kilometers (about 1,242 miles) before it landed in the sea.

Sunday's launch, the North's first-known missile test in two weeks, came amid renewed hopes of inter-Korean dialogue under Moon's presidency.

He says the missile was not flying toward Japan and that the country did not launch a safety alert system.

Moon had said in his inauguration speech that he was willing to visit Pyongyang "in the right circumstances" to ease tensions.

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On Saturday, a senior North Korean diplomat who is a veteran member of its nuclear negotiating team, said the country was open to dialog with the Trump administration under the right conditions, without elaborating.