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(LEAD) N.K. says it will make 'important announcement' this afternoon

All Headlines 14:12 July 04, 2017

(ATTN: ADDS more details from para 4)

SEOUL, July 4 (Yonhap) -- North Korea said Tuesday that it will make an "important announcement" at 3 p.m. (Pyongyang time) after it launched a ballistic missile earlier in the day.

North Korea will make a special announcement, the state-run radio station said, without elaborating.

The North fired an unidentified ballistic missile in its northwestern province into waters off its east coast, according to South Korea's military. The missile flew more than 930 kilometers.

(LEAD) N.K. says it will make 'important announcement' this afternoon - 1

A South Korean military source said that the missile is presumed to have reached an altitude of more than 2,300 km. If launched at a standard angle, it may have traversed some 6,000 km.

The U.S. military characterized it as a "land-based, intermediate-range" missile, but North Korea may announce its purported success of launching an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), given its track record of making a special announcement.

Pyongyang previously made an "important" announcement when it conducted nuclear tests or launched a long-range rocket.

South Korea is analyzing the missile launch by taking into account the possibility it may be an ICBM, President Moon Jae-in said at an emergency meeting of the National Security Council (NSC).

The North's provocation came on the heels of the summit between Moon and his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump.

They agreed last week to keep applying sanctions against the North's nuclear and missile provocations but also left the door open for dialogue "under the right circumstances."

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said in his New Year's message that the country has entered the final stage of preparing to launch an ICBM capable of hitting the U.S. mainland.

The latest move is likely to dampen Moon's will to improve strained inter-Korean relations. North Korea has remained negative toward Moon's rapprochement approach, saying that dialogue cannot go together with sanctions.

Moon vowed to take a dual-track approach of denuclearizing North Korea and seeking dialogue and engagement with Pyongyang.

sooyeon@yna.co.kr
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