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North Korea Confirms Launch, Says Missile Ready For Military Use

South Koreans watch a news report on a North Korean ballistic-missile test earlier this month.

North Korea has acknowledged the "successful" test launch of a medium-range ballistic missile, saying it was conducted to confirm the reliability of a nuclear warhead's late-stage guidance.

The North's KCNA news agency on May 22 said leader Kim Jong Un supervised the test. It said it also verified the functioning of the solid-fuel engine for the Pukguksong-2 missile and said it was ready for military use.

"Saying with pride that the missile's rate of hits is very accurate and Pukguksong-2 is a successful strategic weapon, [Kim] approved the deployment of this weapon system for action," KCNA said.

An official with U.S. President Donald Trump in Saudi Arabia said the White House was aware of the launch, adding that the missile had a shorter range than the three previous missiles the North had tested.

The United States, South Korea, and Japan denounced the launch and jointly requested an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council. A meeting has tentatively been set for May 23.

The launch came just a week after a similar test sparked international condemnation and a warning from Washington that new sanctions could be imposed on Pyongyang.

KCNA said last week's test put Hawaii and Alaska within range.

North Korea’s missile program has been banned by UN resolutions, but it has continued to test ballistic missiles and to develop its nuclear program.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AFP