Seoul says North Korea fires an unidentified projectile

North Korea missile with Kim Jong-Un

North Korea missile with Kim Jong-Un

North Korea last weekend launched a midrange missile that landed in the Sea of Japan after being launched from western North Korea.

New South Korean liberal President Moon Jae-in took office on May 10 pledging a more moderate approach to the North.

North Korea has launched an unidentified "projectile" from an area northeast of Pyongyang, South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff confirmed to ABC News Sunday morning.

Analysts said the missile represented a significant advancement in the North's weapons capabilities as it continues efforts to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of delivering a nuclear warhead to the continental United States.

The UN Security Council met behind closed doors last Tuesday to discuss tightening sanctions on North Korea after its May 14 launch.

Missile tests such as Sunday's present a hard challenge to Moon, a liberal who took over as South Korea's president on May 10 and has expressed a desire to reach out to the North. Pyongyang's aggressive push to boost its weapons program also makes it one of the most urgent foreign policy concerns for the Trump administration, though Washington has struggled to settle on a policy.

Analysts say North Korea's tests may be providing information that will bring it closer to its goal of developing an intercontinental ballistic missile that could possibly threaten the USA mainland.

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The South Korean Foreign Ministry called the launch "reckless and irresponsible".

But North Korea has said its missile testing is in reaction to threats against it by the South, the US and Japan.

The White House said it was aware North Korea had launched a medium range ballistic missile (MRBM) and noted its range was shorter than recent tests.

The official said in a statement that the country's military "is closely monitoring the North Korean military for any further provocation and maintaining readiness to respond". "This is serious. These threats are not welcome", Haley told reporters ahead of the meeting. "That is why the speed of North Korea's missile development is going beyond imagination".

The missile flew about 500 km (310 miles), it said.

The North Korean state newspaper Minju Joson threatened more launches on Sunday. "This is the DPRK's answer to the Trump administration", it said, referring to the national philosophy of "Juche" or self-reliance.