North Korea missile test is huge step forward

Ross Houston
May 15, 2017

North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency called the missile a "new ground-to-ground medium long-range strategic ballistic rocket", and said the "Hwasong-12" was "capable of carrying a large, heavy nuclear warhead".

The North has carried out two atomic tests and dozens of missile launches since the beginning of a year ago in its quest to develop a missile capable of delivering a nuclear warhead to the continental United States - something President Donald Trump has vowed "won't happen".

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley appeared to rule out the possibility of talks, saying the U.S. would continue to "tighten the screws" on North Korea and claiming Kim Jong Un is in a "state of paranoia".

Calling the DPRK "a nuclear power with a powerful potential of military deterrence", Kim Jong-un stressed that Pyongyang was ready to respond should the U.S. dare to carry out a military provocation against the country.

North Korea test fired yet another missile on Sunday.

A reliable missile must endure at least 10 successful test launches, according to Professor Chae Yeon-seok at South Korea's University of Science & Technology.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un waves to people attending a military parade marking the 105th birth anniversary of country's founding father, Kim Il Sung in Pyongyang, April 15, 2017.

The launch complicates the new South Korean president's plan to talk to the North, and came as U.S., Japanese and European navies gather for joint war games in the Pacific. North Korea has also proven to be very adept at evading sanctions through front organizations.

Abe added that the three countries also seek to cooperate with China and Russian Federation to pressure North Korea to comply with U.N. Security Council resolutions to stop further missile and nuclear tests.

But, he added: "We must stop intimidating North Korea and find a peaceful solution to this problem".

The Russian president said: "This missile launch presented no threat to us, but it of course escalates this conflict and there is nothing good about that".

"This is an advanced missile, if their claims are true".

The United Nations Security Council is due to meet on Tuesday to discuss North Korea's latest missile launch, diplomats said on Sunday, which was requested by the United States and allies South Korea and Japan.

On Saturday, a top North Korean diplomat in charge of USA relations, Choe Son Hui, told reporters in Beijing that Pyongyang would be willing to meet with the Trump administration for negotiations "if the conditions are set".

Kim was quoted as warning the United States that its mainland and military operations in the Pacific are in "sighting range" and that North Korea "has all powerful means for a retaliatory strike".

Schilling said Sunday's missile could be a "test bed" for an intercontinental ballistic missile, being smaller than the KN-08 but using the same engines.

South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement that the missile was sacked early Sunday morning from near Kusong, in North Phyongan province.

Kim proclaimed his nation's development of intercontinental ballistic missile technology earlier this year.

"It's not clear what the U.S. can do with North Korea apart from starting a war", Mr Dunn said.

Some have said the latest test shows either that the North has not succeeded in miniaturizing its warheads, or that it can now make missiles that can carry warheads of greater weight and size.

David Wright, co-director of the Global Security Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists, said the missile could have a range of 4,500 kilometres (about 2,800 miles) if flown on a standard, instead of a lofted, trajectory - considerably longer than Pyongyang's current missiles. Launched from North Korea in the direction of Washington, the ICBM would go along the arc.

Haley said that Kim "can sit there and say all the conditions he wants".

Speaking Monday in Tokyo, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga noted that along with the US and South Korea, Japan was going to push this week at the United Nations for greater unity, including efforts to extend "diplomatic cooperation with China and Russian Federation and other countries that have a strong influence" over the North.

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