The Latest: N.Korea says missile test part of defense effort

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) – The Latest on North Korea’s missile launch (all times local):

6:10 p.m.

North Korea’s ambassador to China says that Pyongyang’s test-firing of a ballistic missile over the weekend is part of the country’s efforts to develop ways to defend itself against hostile aggression abroad.

Ji Jae Ryong told reporters Monday at the North Korean Embassy in Beijing that Pyongyang would continue to conduct launches in the future, as long as the country’s supreme leader deemed necessary.

North Korea says Sunday’s launch was of a new type of “medium long-range” ballistic rocket that can carry a heavy nuclear warhead.

Ji also repeated an assertion by North Korean officials that Pyongyang has successfully foiled a CIA-backed plot to kill leader Kim Jong Un last month with a biochemical poison.

ADDS DETAIL ABOUT MISSILE – In this April 15, 2017, file photo, an unidentified missile that analysts believe could be the North Korean Hwasong-12 is paraded across Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang. The country’s official Korean Central News Agency said the missile fired Sunday, May 14, 2017, was a Hwasong-12 “capable of carrying a large-size heavy nuclear warhead.” The Hwasong-10 appeared in the military parade in Pyongyang on April 15, 2017, followed by this unidentified missile. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E, File)

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12:30 p.m.

Australia’s prime minister has called on China to use its leverage over North Korea to end the regime’s missile testing.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull told reporters in Sydney on Monday that North Korea’s conduct was “reckless,” ”provocative” and “unlawful.” Australia will work with the United States and other countries to impose sanctions on Pyongyang.

“The greatest responsibility for bringing North Korea to its senses … lies with China,” Turnbull says.

“They have the overwhelming dominant economic relationship with North Korea and because they have the greatest leverage, they have the greatest responsibility,” he added.

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9:10 a.m.

North Korea says the medium long-range strategic missile it tested over the weekend can carry a nuclear warhead.

The country’s official Korean Central News Agency says the missile fired Sunday Korea time was a Hwasong-12 “capable of carrying a large-size heavy nuclear warhead.”

The South Korean, Japanese and U.S. militaries say the missile flew for half an hour and reached an unusually high altitude before landing in the Sea of Japan. Tokyo says the flight pattern could indicate a new type of missile.

Japanese officials say the missile flew for about 30 minutes, traveling about 800 kilometers (500 miles) and reaching an altitude of 2,000 kilometers (1,240 miles).

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