North Korea: Donald Trump threatens new 'major sanctions' after latest missile test

North Korea: Donald Trump threatens new 'major sanctions' after latest missile test

North Korea: Donald Trump threatens new 'major sanctions' after latest missile test

Updated 30 November 2017, 9:25 AEDT

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says the US could target financial institutions doing business with the North as Donald Trump vows additional major sanctions will be imposed on the hermit kingdom today.

Donald Trump has threatened new major sanctions on North Korea after the reclusive Government shattered more than two months of relative quiet with its most powerful weapon test yet, an intercontinental ballistic missile that some observers believe could reach all of the US mainland.

Mr Trump tweeted that he spoke with Chinese President Xi Jinping about Pyongyang's "provocative actions", and he vowed that "additional major sanctions will be imposed on North Korea today. This situation will be handled!"

Rex Tillerson, Mr Trump's top diplomat, said the US could target financial institutions doing business with the North.

The UN Security Council, meanwhile, was due to hold an emergency meeting on Wednesday afternoon (local time).

The fresh deliberations about new forms of punishment for North Korea came after its Government said it successfully fired a "significantly more" powerful, nuclear-capable ICBM it called the Hwasong-15.

Outside governments and analysts concurred the North had made a jump in missile capability.

A resumption of Pyongyang's torrid testing pace in pursuit of its goal of a viable arsenal of nuclear-tipped missiles that can hit the US mainland had been widely expected.

But the power of the missile and suddenness of the test jolted the Korean Peninsula and Washington.

The launch at 3:17 am on Wednesday local time — early Tuesday afternoon in the US capital — indicated an effort to perfect the element of surprise and obtain maximum attention in the US.

In a government statement released through state media, North Korea said the Hwasong-15, the "greatest ICBM", could be armed with a "super-large heavy nuclear warhead" and is capable of striking the "whole mainland" of the US.

The North said the missile reached a height of more than 4,000 kilometres and travelled 950 kilometres before accurately hitting a sea target, similar to the flight data announced by South Korea's military.

After the launch, it said leader Kim Jong-un "declared with pride" that his country has achieved its goal of becoming a "rocket power".

State TV said Mr Kim gave the order on Tuesday, and it broadcast a photo of Mr Kim's signed order where he wrote: "Test launch is approved. Taking place at the daybreak of Nov. 29! Fire with courage for the party and country!"

The firing ruins nascent diplomatic efforts, raises fears of war or a pre-emptive US strike and casts a deeper shadow over the security of the Winter Olympics early next year in South Korea.

The launch was North Korea's first since it fired an intermediate-range missile over Japan on September 15 and may have broken any efforts at diplomacy.

US officials have sporadically floated the idea of direct talks with North Korea if it maintained restraint.

China's Xi determined to preserve peace

In his call with Mr Xi, Mr Trump made clear "the determination of the United States to defend ourselves and our allies", according to a White House statement.

Mr Trump also "emphasised the need for China to use all available levers to convince North Korea to end its provocations and return to the path of denuclearisation."

The Trump administration bolstered US sanctions against North Korea last week and imposed new restrictions on North Korean shipping firms and Chinese companies that deal with the North.

China's state-run Xinhua news agency said Mr Xi told Trump that China remained determined to clear the Korean Peninsula of nuclear weapons and to preserve peace and stability in north-east Asia.

Mr Xi said China wants to maintain communications with the US and others, and "jointly push the nuclear issue toward the direction of peaceful settlement via dialogues and negotiations".

Japan's UN ambassador Koro Bessho said the international community must "keep the pressure up so that North Koreans will understand that they need to change their course".

Mr Bessho spoke to reporters on Wednesday ahead of an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council called by the United States, Japan and South Korea.

France's UN ambassador Francois Delattre said full implementation and tightening of sanctions are "key priorities for France but also for others".

Tightening sanctions would require a new Security Council resolution.

Sweden's deputy UN ambassador Carl Skau reiterated his country's strong condemnation of the launch and said "it's important that the council speaks with one voice on this issue".

AP