UPDATE 6-New nuclear-capable missile test a success, North Korea says


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* US, S.Korea, Japan seek urgent U.N. meeting - US official
    * North undertook multiple missile, nuclear tests in 2016
    * U.S. official says N.Korea "provocation" had been expected
    * North Korea says new, solid fuel Pukguksong-2 test
successful

 (Adds comment from China, Russia, expert, reference to
missile's name)
    By Ju-min ParkSEOUL, Feb 13 (Reuters) - North Korea said on Monday it had
successfully test-fired a new type of medium- to long-range
ballistic missile the previous day, claiming advances in a
weapons programme it is pursuing in violation of U.N.
resolutions.
    North Korea fired the missile on a high arc into the sea
early on Sunday, the first probe of U.S. President Donald
Trump's vow to get tough on an isolated regime that tested
nuclear devices and ballistic missiles last year at an
unprecedented rate. [nL4N1FW0A6]
    The North's state-run KCNA news agency said leader Kim Jong
Un supervised the test of the Pukguksong-2, a new type of
strategic weapon capable of carrying a nuclear warhead.
    The United States, Japan and South Korea requested urgent
U.N. Security Council consultations on the test, with a meeting
expected later on Monday, an official in the U.S. mission to the
United Nations said.
    Japan said further sanctions against North Korea could be
discussed at the United Nations, and called on China to take a
"constructive" role in responding.
    China is North Korea's main ally and trading partner but is
irritated by its repeated aggressive actions, although it
rejects suggestions from the United States and others that it
could be doing more to rein in its neighbour.
    "We have asked China via various levels to take constructive
actions as a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council and
we will continue to work on it," said Japan's Chief Cabinet
Secretary Yoshihide Suga.
    China said it opposed North Korean missile tests that run
contrary to U.N. resolutions.
    "All sides should exercise restraint and jointly maintain
regional peace and security," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman
Geng Shuang told a regular briefing, adding that China would
participate in talks at the United Nations on the launch with a
"responsible and constructive attitude".
    Russia's foreign ministry expressed concern over the launch,
RIA news agency quoted the ministry as saying.

    HIGH ANGLE
    North Korea has conducted five nuclear tests, including two
last year, although its claims to be able to miniaturise a
nuclear weapon to be mounted on a missile have never been
verified independently.
    Leader Kim said in his New Year speech the North was close
to test-launching an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM)
and state media have said such a launch could come at any time.
    A fully developed ICBM could threaten the continental United
States, which is about 9,000 km (5,500 miles) from North Korea.
    The KCNA news agency said the missile fired on Sunday was
launched at a high angle in consideration of the safety of
neighbouring countries. A South Korean military source said on
Sunday it reached an altitude of 550 km (340 miles)
[nP8N1E6004].
    It flew about 500 km towards Japan, landing off the east
coast of the Korean peninsula.
    The missile was propelled by a solid fuel engine and was an
upgraded, extended-range version of its submarine-launched
ballistic missile that was tested successfully last August,
according to KCNA. [nL3N1B54WH]
    The missile's name - Pukguksong-2 - translates as north star
or Polaris, the same name of the first U.S. submarine-launched
missile.
    South Korea's military said the missile had been launched
using a "cold-eject" system, whereby it is initially lifted by
compressed gas before flying under the power of its rocket, a
system used for submarine-launched missiles.
    North Korea's pursuit of large solid-fuelled missiles was "a
very concerning development", said Jonathan McDowell of the
Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.
    "Large solid-fuel motors are difficult to make work
correctly so this is indeed a significant advance by North
Korea," McDowell said.

    'INTOLERABLE'
    In addition to launching more quickly, solid-fuel engines
also boost the power and range of ballistic rockets.
    "Solid-motor engines mean that the fuel is pre-stored and
the missile can be launched quickly. For example, rolled out of
a cave, tunnel, or bridge," said Melissa Hanham, a senior
research associate at the U.S.-based Middlebury Institute of
International Studies at Monterey, California.
    "They are also more difficult to track by satellite because
they have fewer support vehicles in their entourage."
    The North's Rodong Sinmun newspaper showed pictures of a
missile fired from a mobile launch vehicle, with a flame
appearing only after it had risen clear of the vehicle.
    Before Sunday, the North's two most recent missile tests
were in October. Both were of intermediate-range Musudan
missiles and both failed, according to U.S. and South Korean
officials. [nL1N1CQ06I]
    A U.S. official said at the weekend the Trump administration
had been expecting a North Korean "provocation" soon after
taking office.
    The latest test came a day after Trump held a summit meeting
with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and also followed a
phone call last week between trump and Chinese President Xi
Jinping. [nL4N1FV21K]
    Abe described the test as "absolutely intolerable".
    In brief comments made while standing beside Abe in Florida,
Trump said: "I just want everybody to understand, and fully
know, that the United States of America is behind Japan, our
great ally, 100 percent."
    Trump and his aides are likely to weigh a series of
responses, including new U.S. sanctions to tighten financial
controls, an increase in naval and air assets in and around the
Korean peninsula, and accelerated installation of new missile
defence systems in South Korea, the administration official
said. [nL1N1FX0IC]
    However, the official said that, given that the missile was
believed not to have been an ICBM, and the North had not carried
out a new nuclear explosion, any response would seek to avoid
increasing tension.

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GRAPHIC: North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile tests    http://tmsnrt.rs/2lE5yjF
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 (Additional reporting by Tony Munroe and Christine Kim in
SEOUL, David Lawder in WASHINGTON, Kaori Kaneko in TOKYO and Ben
Blanchard in BEIJING; Editing by Lincoln Feast and Robert
Birsel)
 ((ju-min.park@thomsonreuters.com; +82 2 3704 5650; Reuters
Messaging: ju-min.park.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

Keywords: NORTHKOREA MISSILES/ (UPDATE 6, PIX, TV, GRAPHIC)



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