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North Korea says first ICBM test successful, China and Russia gravely concerned

Staff Writer |
North Korea said on Tuesday it successfully test-launched a first intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

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Fox News and NBC said U.S. officials had told them they believed Tuesday's test was of an ICBM, marking a milestone in Pyongyang's missile development.

The Pentagon and State Department said on Tuesday that they and other U.S. government agencies were working on a more detailed assessment of the launch.

On Monday night, the Pentagon described the missile as an intermediate-range type that travelled for 37 minutes.

The launch, on the eve of U.S. Independence Day, took place days before leaders from the Group of 20 nations were due to discuss steps to rein in North Korea's weapons programme, which it has pursued in defiance of U.N. Security Council sanctions.

North Korea's state media said the launch was ordered and supervised by leader Kim Jong Un and sent the Hwasong-14 933 km (580 miles) reaching an altitude of 2,802 km (1,741 miles) over a flight time of 39 minutes.

Some analysts said the flight details on Tuesday suggested the new missile had a range of more than 8,000 km (4,970 miles), which would put significant parts of the U.S. mainland in range, representing major advances in its programme. Others said they believed its range was not so far.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in said the missile was believed to be an intermediate-range type, but the military was looking into the possibility it was an ICBM.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov said here Tuesday that the two nations are gravely concerned about Pyongyang's latest launch of a ballistic missile.

They urged relevant parties to avoid any provocation and make positive efforts toward an ease of the escalating tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

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