North Korea claims to have conducted its first test of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) , a development that, if confirmed, could move the regime closer to being able to strike the US mainland and dramatically strengthen its hand in negotiations with Washington.

South Korean and Japanese officials said they were studying the data to confirm whether or not it was an ICBM, but analysts said it appeared the missile had the range to strike Alaska but not other parts of the continental US.

Later there were reports in the US that officials believe North Korea may have fired its first intercontinental missile, though there was no official public statement from the US about this.

The launch, which came as Americans prepared to mark Independence Day, triggered a Twitter outburst from President Donald Trump who urged China to act to “end this nonsense once and for all”.

In a joint statement released after the missile test, Russia and China condemned the launch and proposed that North Korea declare a moratorium on nuclear and missile tests, while at the same time calling on Washington to immediately halt deployment of its THAAD anti-missile system in South Korea.

In a rare announcement on state North Korean television, an emotional newsreader said Kim Jong-un had personally overseen the “landmark” test of a Hwasong-14 missile.

North Korea was now a “a strong nuclear power state” and had “a very powerful ICBM that can strike any place in the world,” the newsreader said. Continue reading.