Russian President Vladimir Putin warns West to 'stop intimidating North Korea'

North Korea on Sunday launched what appeared to be its longest-range ballistic missile yet, saying it was capable of carrying a "heavy nuclear warhead" in a test aimed at bringing the United States mainland within reach.

North Korea has carried out two atomic tests and dozens of missile launches since the beginning of past year.

Sunday's test missile flew 787 kilometers (489 miles) across North Korea and into the Sea of Japan, also known as the East Sea, according to state media, and it appeared to have struck near the eastern coast of Russian Federation.

North Korea has rebuffed cries for it to cease missile and nuclear testing, calling each of them acts of self defense.

North Korea published photos and video clips from Sunday's successful launch of its Hwasong-12 midrange missile.

Asked if North Korea's missile programme was developing faster than the South had expected, Mr Han said: "Yes".

"We will conduct ICBM tests anytime and anywhere in accordance with the decisions made by our central leadership", North Korea's ambassador to China Ji Jae Pyong said.

But its arsenal is growing, so too the pace of its tests and its threats to carry out a seventh nuclear test.

While observing the launch, Kim reportedly warned that the American mainland and Pacific strategic theater are within North Korea's strike range.

The council adopted two sanctions resolutions previous year to ramp up pressure on Pyongyang and deny leader Kim Jong-Un the hard currency needed to fund his military programs. It further called on all countries to implement the six North Korean sanctions resolutions already adopted by the world body "in an expeditious and serious manner".

Yesterday the United Nations Security Council condemned North Korea's recent missile tests.

Japanese officials said Sunday that the missile flew for a half-hour and reached an unusually high altitude before landing in the Sea of Japan.

North Korea, in defiance of United Nations sanctions, has already conducted five nuclear tests as part of their developments in nuclear weapons and missiles capable of delivering those weapons to their target. Opposing the North's test, China's Foreign Ministry called on all sides to exercise restraint.

"While Russia is concerned about North Korea and its missiles, it also sees North Korea as an opportunity to gain leverage with the West, the USA in particular", said Matthew Chance, CNN's Moscow correspondent.

The Korean Central News Agency has called North Korea's new missile a "ground to ground medium to long-range ballistic missile". Even a new missile being developed by Japan and the USA would reach an altitude of just over 1,000km.

North Korea has claimed that the missile it tested on Sunday was a new type of rocket capable of carrying a large nuclear warhead. The Musudan is a type of missile capable of traveling distances of more than 1,800 miles to 2,400 miles.

Kim also told scientists to "continuously develop more precise and diversified nukes and nuclear striking means" and "make preparations for more tests till the US and its vassal forces" use reason to make the "right choice", the KCNA reported.

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