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(LEAD) N.K. claims successful launch of new ballistic missile

All Headlines 07:06 May 15, 2017

(ATTN: RECASTS lead; ADDS more details throughout)

SEOUL, May 15 (Yonhap) -- North Korea said Monday it has successfully tested-fired a new ground-to-ground intermediate-range ballistic missile, warning that the U.S. mainland is within its striking range.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un observed the launch of the rocket, called the Hwasong-12, on Sunday, according to the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

North Korea fired the missile from a site northwest of Pyongyang, according to South Korea's military. It marked the North's first provocation since South Korea's new President Moon Jae-in took office Wednesday.

The KCNA said that the missile reached an altitude of 2,111.5 kilometers in an indication that it may be a new type of a ballistic missile under development. It flew 787 km, it added.

It said that the test-fire was aimed at increasing the number of missiles on which nuclear warheads can be mounted.

The North's leader warned that the United States should not misjudge the reality that "its mainland and Pacific operation region are in (North Korea's) sighting range for strike and that it has all powerful means for retaliatory strike," the report said in English.

sooyeon@yna.co.kr
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