UN strongly condemns North Korea's latest missile launch

Korean flag flies on a mast at the Permanent Mission of North Korea in Geneva

"These are very concerning moments to me because we're not sure, every time they launch we're not sure if this is a threat missile or not", Hyten said.

Pyongyang's nuclear weapons programme is likely to dominate when US President Donald Trump meets China's leader Xi Jinping at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida Thursday, their first face to face meeting.

The missile test ended in failure when the rocket spun out of control and plunged into the sea, a senior U.S. defense official said.

"The missile reached an altitude of 189 kilometers, well into outer space".

The council said it would closely monitor developments in North Korea and "take further significant measures", without elaborating.

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So North Korea may not have minded giving a fresh look of its capabilities ahead of the Trump-Xi summit while sticking to its own weapons development schedule, said Koh Yu-hwan, a professor at Seoul's Dongguk University.

The North's latest missile launch also came during annual military drills between the United States and South Korea. However, this missile flew only a short distance.

The president has previously called on China to do more on North Korea, but Beijing has been hesitant to push too hard on Pyongyang.

Once the Hyunmu-2C is deployed, the military will be capable of hitting any target in North Korea from a safe distance in the south of the country that lies outside the range of the North's new 300-mm multiple rocket launchers and Scud-B missiles.

In February the North simultaneously fired four ballistic missiles off its east coast, three of which fell close to Japan.

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U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says "the United States has spoken enough about North Korea" in reaction to North Korea's latest missile launch.

The US military said it was a KN-15 medium-range ballistic missile which they had determined posed no threat to America.

The test elicited a matter of fact response from the US State Department, unlike the standard condemnations that usually follow Pyongyang's missile tests. Others attribute North Korea's unsuccessful launches to poor-quality missiles, unreliable equipment, and incompetence.

The launch was near Kalma in eastern Wonsan province, where North Korea previously attempted to test its mobile-launched Musudan intermediate-range ballistic missile. South Korean military specialists believe the objective was to further improve ballistic technologies.

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