North Korea claims new 'significantly more' powerful missile puts entire US in range

North Korea says it has successfully tested a new, nuclear-capable intercontinental-ballistic missile that could target the entire US mainland.

The North's state television said on Wednesday the new ICBM was "significantly more" powerful than the previous long-range weapon the North tested.

The report called the weapon a Hwasong 15.

It also says it has "realised (the) great historic cause of completing (the) state nuclear force".

South Koreans walk by a TV showing a North Korean announcer reading a statement on the country's new ICBM testSource: Getty

The missile is the North's most powerful ever, and it flew 950 km for 53 minutes while reaching an altitude of 4,475 km, according to a statement read by a television presenter.

South Korea's President Moon Jae-in said on Wednesday the missile technology seems to have improved, after the ICBM landed close to Japan.

Moon made the remark to US President Donald Trump in a phone call, his office said, during which both heads of state said they would talk further on measures to respond to North Korea's latest provocation.

The missile travelled higher than any previous test launches. Source: Getty

The Launch has prompted US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis to warn that Pyongyang could soon threaten "everywhere in the world."

The worrying assessment once again calls into question America's anti-missile capabilities, and whether it and its allies can protect themselves from the threat of a nuclear-tipped ICBM.

The US has spent decades and billions of dollars developing technologies to stop an incoming ballistic missile, and the US military still has faith these systems can protect against a North Korean missile attack.

"The (South Korea)-US alliance remains confident that we can still defend against any North Korean threat," Pentagon spokesman Colonel Rob Manning said shortly after Tuesday's launch.