Seoul, Washington- North Korea tested on Sunday an unidentified missile in a new challenge to international calls that Pyongyang curbs its nuclear program, and only days after its southern neighbor’s president took office pledging to engage the isolated country in dialogue.
Diplomats said that a UN Security Council meeting is expected on Tuesday to discuss the latest North Korean conduct.
The missile, tested on Sunday from the region of Kusong, northwest of the capital Pyongyang, flew 700 km before dropping into the sea between North Korea’s east coast and Japan.
Officials said the missile also reached an altitude of more than 2,000 km, higher than an intermediate-range missile North Korea successfully tested last February.
Meanwhile, the White House said in a statement: “Let this latest provocation serve as a call for all nations to implement far stronger sanctions against North Korea,” adding that the missile dropped closer to Russia than to Japan.
“The President cannot imagine that Russia is pleased,” the White House added.
However, Russia’s Defense Ministry said the missile landed some 500 kilometers from Russia and hadn’t posed a threat.
The missile test on Sunday is the second for North Korea in 15 days and the first since the election of South Korea’s new President.
The Kremlin said that Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping had discussed the latest missile launch during their meeting in Beijing on Sunday and expressed “mutual concerns” about growing tensions.
South Korea’s new President Moon Jae-in, who took office on Wednesday, said he was willing to launch dialogue with his northern neighbor under the right circumstances.
Prior to Pyongyang’s missile test, the US Treasury said it was considering all of its available tools to deny North Korea access to the international financial system to restrict its nuclear weapons and missile development programs.