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  1. ITV Report

North Korea 'test fires another ballistic missile'

Missiles are paraded across Kim Il Sung Square during a military parade in April 2017. Credit: AP Photo/Wong Maye-E

North Korea has test fired another ballistic missile, which flew for half an hour before landing in the Sea of Japan.

This latest missile test was launched near north-western Kusong and comes just days after the new South Korean president took office.

The launch is the latest in a series of missile tests that have been carried out by North Korea, each one escalating tensions with the US.

In a statement the White House said the US president "has been informed" adding "with the missile impacting so close to Russian soil – in-fact, closer to Russia than to Japan – the president cannot imagine that Russia is pleased".

A later statement from the Russian defence ministry appeared to play down any threat to Russia, pointing out the missile had landed a "considerable distance" from the Russian border.

The White House statement continued that North Korea had "been a flagrant menace for far too long".

It called the testing the "latest provocation" and urged "all nations to implement far stronger sanctions against North Korea".

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un Credit: AP

It was not immediately clear what type of ballistic missile was launched, although the US Pacific Command said that "the flight is not consistent with an intercontinental ballistic missile".

Japanese officials said the missile flew for about 30 minutes, travelling about 800 kilometers (500 miles) and reaching an altitude of 2,000 kilometers (1,240 miles), a flight pattern that could indicate a new type of missile.

While North Korea regularly carries out shorter range missile tests, it is believed to be working to develop the technology needed to produce nuclear-tipped missiles capable of reaching the US mainland.

Past North Korean missiles have flown farther than Sunday's test, landing closer to Japan, but this launch follows a series of high-profile failures.

Moon Jae-in was recently elected as president of South Korea. Credit: PA

South Korea's president Moon Jae-in strongly condemned the launch during an emergency national security meeting, calling it a clear violation of UN Security Council resolutions.

South Korea's military warned that North Korea will face an unspecified "strong punishment" by Seoul and Washington if it continues provocations.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters that the launch was "absolutely unacceptable" and that Japan will respond resolutely.

North Korea's state media reported that the nation will bolster its nuclear capability unless the United States abandons its hostile policy.

"The United States should never expect us to give up our nuclear capability," the main Rodong newspaper said.

It claimed President Donald Trump's "maximum pressure and engagement" policy is only aimed at "stifling us" and will compel the North to "strengthen our nuclear deterrent at the maximum speed."