Minuteman III: United States answers North Korea launch with intercontinental ballistic missile

A man watches file footage of a North Korean missile launch at a railway station in Seoul on Sept 10 2019

Reports of new North Korean ballistic missile launches are "extremely worrying", France's Foreign Affairs ministry said on Wednesday.

A North Korean delegation headed by the country's chief nuclear negotiator Kim Myong Gil has landed in Stockholm, Sweden for denuclearisation talks with the United States, a source familiar with the matter said on Thursday (Oct 3).

Wednesday's launch was the first nuclear capable missile launch since the 2017 test of the Hwasong-15 ballistic missile, which occurred before Kim Jong Un's surprise detente with the U.S. It was also the first SLBM since August 2016.

North Korea still has one seaworthy ballistic missile submarine, the Gorae, which remains berthed at the Sinpo Shipyard.

A North Korean missile launch is being investigated as a possible test of a submarine-launched ballistic missile according to South Korean Officials. That moratorium did not extend to submarine-launched ballistic missiles.

If fired at a standard trajectory, Kim, the analyst, said the missile could have travelled 1,500-2,000 kilometers (930-1,240 miles).

A State Department spokeswoman called on Pyongyang to "refrain from provocations" and remain committed to the nuclear negotiations.

It was probably launched from a test platform and not a submarine, which would be the final stage of testing, said Kim Dong-yub, a military expert at Kyungnam University's Institute of Far Eastern Studies in Seoul.

They were the ninth launch since Kim Jong Un met U.S. President Donald Trump in June.

This is the longest-range North Korean missile test for a considerable period.

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U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is "very concerned" about North Korea's missile launch ahead of Pyongyang's talks with the United States, U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.

The test "had no adverse impact on the security of neighboring countries", KCNA said.

North Korea's nuclear submarine program is considered especially threatening because submersible weapons are harder to detect in advance and have a broader range.

North Korea is banned from ballistic missile launches by United Nations Security Council resolutions.

The latest test missile was not fired from a submarine, it was sacked from a barge or underwater platform; Lucas Tomlinson reports from the Pentagon.

North Korea has defied years of isolation and sanctions to develop its arsenal and has not given up any of its weapons, while proving itself adept at dragging out discussions.

Pyongyang tested what it called a "super-large" rocket launcher last month just hours after Choe released a statement saying that the North was willing to resume working-level talks with Washington.

The missile was sacked into the sea towards Japan.

This test underscores why the United States must make extensive efforts to freeze North Korea's qualitative progress on missile technologies.

Hours before the launch, Pyongyang said denuclearisation talks with the U.S. could resume this week.

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