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Hours after the North launched a ballistic missile that flew more than 900 kilometres on Tuesday, the North's state media said it would make an 'important announcement'.'Important announcements' were made twice last year, one in January when the North claimed it had successfully tested a hydrogen bomb and the other in February when it said it had successfully put a satellite into orbit.

Lee Illwoo, a Seoul-based military commentator, said the missile traveled for a far longer period of time than if it would have been fired at a normal angle.

He said that China's role is indispensable, and that its contribution in that regard is recognized.

'We hope all relevant parties can exercise restraint, avoid taking actions that may escalate tensions, and make efforts to bring the issue back to peaceful settlement through dialogue and consultation,' Geng said.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told reporters Tuesday that his country was collecting information about North Korea's latest launch, conducted earlier in the day.

He said that China urges 'the North Korean side to stop taking actions that violate Security Council resolutions and to create the necessary conditions for the resumption of talks.'The spokesman also defended China's efforts to try to resolve the North Korean nuclear issue.

US Pacific Command confirmed the test and said it was a land-based, intermediate range missile that flew for 37 minutes.

The 'landmark' test of a Hwasong-14 missile was overseen by leader Kim Jong-Un, an emotional female announcer said on state Korean Central Television.

Russia has also said it believes the missile was medium range.

'The missile reached an altitude of 535 kilometres (330 miles) and flew 510 kilometres before falling into the central part of the Sea of Japan,' the defense ministry said in a statement to Russian news agencies.'The parametric flight data of the ballistic object corresponds to the tactical and technical characteristics of a medium-range ballistic missile,' it said, adding that it did 'not present' any danger to Russian territory.

The test still may be the North's most successful yet; a weapons analyst says the missile could be powerful enough to reach Alaska.

The 'unidentified ballistic missile' was fired from a site in North Phyongan province, the South's Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement, and came down in the East Sea, the Korean name for the Sea of Japan.

Still pictures of the launch showed a missile lifting off the ground, spewing a flame and clouds against a backdrop of green hills.

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