North Korea fire another solid-fueled ballistic missile

North Korea fired an unidentified ballistic missile from an area near Pukchang, according to the South Korean military's Joint Chiefs of Staff. The missile flew east about 500 km (over 300 miles), South Korean officials said their military is closely monitoring North Korea and is maintaining readiness posture.

The missile was launched Sunday at about 4:59 p.m. Seoul time from a site in the vicinity of Puckchang county, which is home to North Korea's largest power plant. It seems to have fallen into the Sea of Japan, also known as the East Sea, but not within Japan's exclusive economic zone, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said in a press briefing.

A White House official said the projectile was a medium-range ballistic missile, a system that North Korea tested in February. The missile tested in February was a Pukguksong-2, a medium long-range ballistic missile, officials said. It was the first test by Pyongyang since President Donald Trump was inaugurated. At the time, the missile was described as a "Korean style new type strategic weapon system" by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency, KCNA. Sunday's launch comes days after the US sent a second aircraft carrier -- the USS Ronald Reagan -- to the region. The carrier is conducting a variety of training exercises alongside the USS Carl Vinson, which has been on the Korean Peninsula since late April.

A significant launch

The missile launched Sunday was last tested in February. Called the KN-15, the new solid-fueled missile traveled 310 miles into the Sea of Japan. It was a significant launch, not because of the distance traveled but because of the solid fuel missile technology used in the launch. Gen. John Hyten, the commander of U.S.

Strategic Command, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that the February launch marked a significant advancement for North Korea because it was its first successful solid-fueled missile fired from a mobile launcher. North Korea last weekend launched a midrange missile that landed in the Sea of Japan after being launched from western North Korea.

The Russian Ministry of Defense said the missile flew for about 23 minutes before crashing into the sea around 500 km (310 miles) from Russia into the center of the Sea of Japan.

"Reckless and irresponsible act"

South Korea's Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemned the missile launch, saying in a statement, "The repeated provocation of North Korea is a reckless and irresponsible act that puts cold water on the expectations and aspirations of the Korean government and the international community for the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and peace settlement, and the government strongly condemns this provocation." Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe condemned the launch and said it was "obviously" violating the UN resolution and the "repeated provocative acts by the North are totally unacceptable." It's the second from them since South Korean President Moon Jae-in took office earlier this month.

Moon has advocated dialogue with them to denuclearize. Last week they launched what analysts called the country's most successful ballistic missile test yet.

A peaceful resolution is needed

On Friday North Korea’s deputy U.N. envoy said that the country will continue to strengthen its nuclear program as a necessary measure needed to counter U.S. aggression Kim In Ryong told reporters that the U.S. hostile policy towards North Korea is “the root of all problems” and that regardless of U.S. sanctions, Pyongyang would never abandon its “nuclear deterrence for self-defense and pre-emptive strike capability.” U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on Friday at the Pentagon that the North is clearly not complying with pressure from the international community. He stressed the need for a peaceful resolution, stating that a military solution to the standoff with them over its nuclear weapons program would be "tragic on an unbelievable scale."