The Pentagon has assessed that North Korea's weekend missile launch showed new capabilities, US officials told CNN on Monday.
The launch came after North Korean leader Kim Jong-un last month threatened to test-fire an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching the USA mainland.
Earlier Monday, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, in a statement issued by his spokesman, strongly condemned the latest move by Pyongyang, saying "this action is a further troubling violation of (UN) Security Council resolutions".
"The DPRK leadership must return to full compliance with its global obligations and to the path of denuclearization", Haq said.
North Korea fired a ballistic missile Sunday in what would be its first such test of the year and an implicit challenge to President Donald Trump's new administration.
The missile test came as Trump hosted Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
If true, it would be a big step forward in North Korea's quest to boost its ability to attack the United States and its close allies, South Korea and Japan.
North Korea's ultimate goal is a nuclear-tipped long-range missile that can attack the US mainland. While it was the first direct test of Trump's North Korean stance during his presidency, he did have a response to a North Korean threat while he was the president-elect. In response, the United States plans to deploy a missile defense system known as Thaad in South Korea, a move opposed by China, North Korea's primary ally.
Kelsey Davenport, the director of nonproliferation at the Arms Control Association, told Business Insider that missile defense isn't a good enough response to North Korea's missile tests - diplomatic engagement is needed. Solid fuel can give missiles longer range and make detecting them before launch more hard because they can be readied faster than liquid fuel missiles. The test was declared successful by Pyongyang.
The test comes as the nascent Trump administration's policy on North Korea remains unclear.
South Korean analysts were expecting some kind of military provocation.
It released photos showing the missile blasting into the sky with a smiling Kim watching from the command center and standing on the launch field surrounded by dozens of cheering soldiers and scientists.
Abe said his main goal was to show the world an unshakable Japan-U.S. alliance.
Just days ago, it also reaffirmed its plan to conduct more space launches, which it staunchly defends but which have been criticized because they involve dual use technology that can be transferred to improve missiles.
Last year, North Korea conducted its fourth and fifth atomic bomb tests and claimed a series of technical breakthroughs in its push for a long-range nuclear missile.