North Korea says new long-range rocket can carry heavy nuke

Cheryl Sanders
May 15, 2017

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters that the launch was "absolutely unacceptable" and that Japan will respond resolutely.

Such rhetoric contrasts sharply with the tensions between the United States and North Korea.

The provocation came just four days after Moon, a liberal politician, was sworn in as South Korea's new president following the ouster of his conservative predecessor Park Geun-hye over corruption charges.

But it described another launch earlier this year as a drill for an attack on USA bases in Japan - which has always been within its range - and David Wright of the Union of Concerned Scientists said the Hwasong-12 missile "has considerably longer range than its current missiles".

It was "aimed at verifying the tactical and technological specifications of the newly developed ballistic rocket capable of carrying a large-size heavy nuclear warhead", KCNA said.

"As North Korea claimed that the United States mainland is within its striking range, I expect a tougher reaction from the USA and calls for further pressure and sanctions by the global community", he said.

North Korea launched a ballistic missile on Sunday that flew some 700 km before splashing into the East Sea. While Pyongyang regularly tests shorter-range missiles, it is also working to master long-range missiles.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visits the exhibition of utensils and tools, finishing building materials and sci-tech achievements organised by the Ministry of the People's Armed Forces in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) May 13, 2017.

North Korea has been testing missiles at a rapid rate over the past year.

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.

Uruguay holds the council presidency this month and its U.N. Mission said Sunday the closed consultations will be held on Tuesday afternoon.

Moon, the first liberal leader in Seoul in almost a decade, said as he took his oath of office that he would be willing to visit the North if the circumstances were right. That's higher and closer to Russian Federation than other North Korean tests, according to U.S. officials.

In a statement, the White House said: "North Korea has been a flagrant menace for far too long".

The latest provocation makes it hard for Moon to embark on a more conciliatory North Korea policy.

The "Hwasong-12" missile, which North Korea test-fired over the weekend, may have appeared in a military parade in Pyongyang last month.

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said he and South Korean President Moon Jae-in discussed by phone North Korea's latest missile test, while his top national security adviser also spoke with his US counterpart.

The projectile flew more than 700km before landing in the Sea of Japan. And it says South Korea and Japan have been watching this situation closely with the U.S.

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