North Korea's Unit 180, the cyber warfare cell that worries the West

US Navy Admiral Harry Harris

US Navy Admiral Harry Harris

North Korea fired a ballistic missile into waters off its east coast on Sunday, South Korea and Japan said, a week after it tested an intermediate-range missile which experts saw as an advancement in the reclusive state's weapons programme. The missile launched on Sunday reached a maximum altitude of 560 kilometers (347 miles), said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, citing office rules.

North Korea's deputy UN ambassador says the country will rapidly strengthen its nuclear strike capability as long as the United States maintains its "hostile policy" toward the country.

Haley said the Security Council is going to send a strong and unified message to North Korea that "the global community wants to support you but as long as you test, and as long as you continue your nuclear program, you are on an island by yourself".

This picture released from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on May 19, 2017 shows developers of the ground-to-ground medium-to-long range strategic ballistic rocket Hwasong-12 waving to people on their arrival in Pyongyang on May 18.

During the 40-minute conversation, Moon revealed his plans to send separate delegations to Beijing to discuss the dispute and North Korea's nuclear threat.

If North Korea did indeed fire the Pukguksong-2 again, it might be part of attempts to stabilize the system's functions before it operationally deploys the missiles, said Kim Dong-yub, an analyst at Seoul's Institute for Far Eastern Studies.

Japan has strongly protested to North Korea about the ballistic missile launch it conducted on Sunday as Tokyo can not tolerate its repeated acts of provocation, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a news conference.

It was also a quick reaction compared to the last administration, when the North waited about three months to slam the Park Blue House in what appeared to be an effort to influence her North Korea policy.

While North Korea regularly tests shorter range missiles, it is also working to master the technology needed to field nuclear-tipped missiles that can reach the United States mainland.

"We're early in the stages of applying the economic pressure as well as the diplomatic pressure to the regime in North Korea", Tillerson said.

Kim said this U.S. policy is "the root cause of all problems".

The test was also condemned by the United Nations, which has demanded that North Korea "halt all nuclear and ballistic tests".

The launch is a direct challenge to the new South Korean president elected four days ago and comes as U.S., Japanese and European navies gather for joint war games in the Pacific.

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