North Korea on Monday said the missile it successfully tested a day earlier was a "new ground-to-ground medium long-range strategic ballistic rocket" capable of carrying a "large-size heavy" nuclear warhead - and striking the US mainland.
But after a number of recent missile tests failed very publicly, Sunday afternoon saw the test-firing of a missile that came closer to Russian Federation than any previous launches.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attended the site of the test-fire of the new ground-to-ground medium long-range strategic ballistic missile, Hwasong-12, on Sunday.
South Korea's military said it could not yet verify the North's claims, but Pyongyang seems to have yet to master missile technology for "atmospheric reentry", a key element in developing an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).
North Korea has also launched satellites into orbit on long-range rockets that share some of the same technology as missiles.
The test "represents a level of performance never before seen from a North Korean missile", John Schilling, an aerospace expert, said in an analysis on the US-based 38 North website. The missile firing took place Sunday, North Korea time, with the projectile landing in the sea between North Korea and Japan.
Tensions between the United States and North Korea reached a peak in recent weeks, with Washington saying military action was an option under consideration and Pyongyang issuing threats of its own. "North Korean missiles are a threat to the region and very destabilizing", Capt. Jeff Davis said during a briefing at the Foreign Press Center.
"The missile may have a maximum range capable of reaching Alaska and Hawaii if it is fired at a standard angle", Kim Dong-yub, a professor at the Institute for Far Eastern Studies in Kyungnam University, said according to Yonhap News.
The U.N. Security Council is strongly condemning North Korea's latest ballistic missile test and vowing to impose new sanctions in response to its "flagrant and provocative defiance" of council demands to halt all nuclear-related tests.
In a unanimously agreed statement, the 15-member council said it was of vital importance that North Korea show "sincere commitment to denuclearization through concrete action and stressed the importance of working to reduce tensions".
North Korea has accused the United States of a hostile policy to remove its regime and says its nuclear weapons and missiles are a "sacred sword" to protect itself.
KCNA said Kim accused the United States of "browbeating" countries that "have no nukes", warning Washington not to misjudge the reality that its mainland is in the North's "sighting range for strike". He also warned North Korea not to test his resolve.
South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said it was sacked toward the east at around 5:30 AM local time from near Kusong in the northwestern province of Pyongan-pukdo. "North Korea openly states that its ballistic missiles are meant to deliver nuclear weapons to strike cities in the U.S., the ROK, and Japan", Davis said.
While Trump has said he'd be "honored" to talk with leader Kim under favorable conditions, Haley seemed to rule out the possibility.
The launch came as troops from the U.S., Japan and two European nations gather near Guam for drills that are partly a message to North Korea.