U.S. urges N. Korea to stop destabilizing acts, rhetoric, calls for tougher sanctions

WASHINGTON-- The United States urged North Korea to stop destabilizing actions and rhetoric and called for tighter sanctions on Pyongyang after the communist nation successfully carried out a new missile test and threatened that the U.S. mainland is within its striking range.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un made the threat after overseeing Sunday's test of a new intermediate-range ballistic missile, saying the "U.S. should not to disregard or misjudge the reality that its mainland and Pacific operation region are in the DPRK's sighting range for strike," according to Pyongyang's state media.

"We call on the DPRK to refrain from provocative, destabilizing actions and rhetoric, and to make the strategic choice to fulfill its international obligations and commitments," State Department spokeswoman Katina Adams said. She declined comment on whether the North is capable of striking the continental U.S.

"There is no question that North Korea continues to threaten the United States, our allies Japan, South Korea and its neighbors, including both China and Russia," press secretary Sean Spicer said. "We are calling on all those folks in the region, particularly China and Russia, to do everything they can in terms of sanctions and to help resolve the situation and bring stability to the peninsula."

Asked if the U.S. would advise the government of South Korea's new President Moon Jae-in against reaching out to the North, Spicer only said that Trump looks forward to "looks forward to having a conversation with the new president and discussing the way forward."

Experts say the latest test demonstrated a big stride in Pyongyang's pursuit of an intercontinental ballistic missile.

The North said that it fired the missile at the highest angle in consideration of security of neighboring countries, and the missile reached the maximum altitude of more than 2,111.5 kilometers before landing in the East Sea 787 km away.

Experts said the missile could have flown about 4,500 km if it had been fired at a normal angle. The distance to Hawaii, headquarters for U.S. military operations in the Pacific, is 7,400 kilometers.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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