China urges North Korea not to violate United Nations resolutions

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A man watches a TV news program reporting about North Korea's missile firing with a file footage, at Seoul Train Station in Seoul, South Korea, Saturday, April 29, 2017.

Missile tests such as Sunday's present a hard challenge to Moon, a liberal who took over as South Korea's president on May 10 and has expressed a desire to reach out to the North. Pyongyang's aggressive push to improve its weapons program also makes it one of the most urgent foreign policy concerns for the Trump administration.

David Wright, an expert on North Korea's missiles and nuclear program with the Union of Concerned Scientists, said the latest missile could have flown farther but was sacked on a "lofted" trajectory, which sends the missile high up so that it will land in the open seas rather than flying over or splashing down near neighboring countries.

The test Sunday involved a medium-range ballistic missile that has a shorter range than others fired by the communist regime in recent months, the White House said.

Seoul also said the Pukguksong-2 missile used solid fuel, which is harder to produce than liquid fuel, but which is more stable and can be transported in the missile tank to allow for a swift launch.

The official Korean Central News Agency confirmed Monday the missile was a Pukguksong-2, a medium-to-long range ballistic missile also launched in February. But spokesman Roh Jae-cheon said the allies believe more analysis is required to verify whether the North has achieved a re-entry technology, which would return a warhead safely back into the atmosphere, for the missile.

North Korea regularly threatens to destroy the United States which it accuses of preparing for invasion.

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It's not the first time South Korea has reacted sternly to an object sent across its border.

South Korea's new government reiterated its desire to improve ties with Pyongyang on Monday, despite a missile test carried out by North Korea a day earlier.

The latest missile can not even hit Guam, about 2,100 miles away from North Korea.

The North said it successfully fired the Pukguksong-2 missile into waters off its east coast on May 21, its second missile test in a week. Kim called the launch "perfect" and "expressed his great satisfaction", KCNA said.

Michael Elleman, senior fellow for missile defense at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, told NBC News it remained hard to assess how far along North Korea is in terms of that endeavor but it appeared clear that progress was being made.

U.S. Pacific Command said in a statement that it had detected and tracked the launch at 9:59 p.m.

The statements are a significant stretch from a Monday regular briefing led by Lee Duk-haeng, South Korea's spokesman for the Ministry of Unification, which handles inter-Korea relations, in which he said the government would "flexibly review" the resumption of inter-Korean exchanges in the private sector on the condition that they do not violate worldwide sanctions against the North.

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