United Nations vows sanctions on N. Korea

Cheryl Sanders
May 24, 2017

A South Korean government minister has said North Korea's missile program is progressing faster than expected, just hours after the UN Security Council demanded the reclusive country to halt all nuclear and ballistic missile tests.

Kim Jong-Un was on hand and "hugged" his rocket scientists after what North Korean media hailed as the successful test of a "medium long-range" ballistic missile that is capable of carrying a heavy nuclear warhead.

If it had been fired at a normal angle, analysts say, it could have flown much farther - estimates vary between 4,000 and 7,000 kilometers (2,500 and 4,350 miles), the upper number putting Alaska and possibly Hawaii within striking distance.

"North Korea is capable of continuing to develop longer-range missiles", Physicist David Wright, told CBS News, adding that the regime's longest-distance test to date shows they are inching closer to a missile capable of reaching the USA mainland.

It appeared to demonstrate an intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) that could "reliably strike the U.S. base at Guam" in the Pacific, he said, and "more importantly, may represent a substantial advance to developing an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM)".

The UN Security Council and Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday both slammed the most recent ballistic missile launches conducted by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).

"With the missile impacting so close to Russian soil - in fact, closer to Russia than to Japan - the president can not imagine that Russia is pleased", the statement added.

North Korea has tested dozens of banned missiles in the a year ago, though this was the first one deemed by US officials to have been a success, after a string of recent failures.

The White House, in a statement, said that North Korea has been "a flagrant menace for far too long".

South Korean President Moon Jae-in slammed the latest missile test as a "reckless provocation". Euan Graham, an expert on North Korea at Australia's Lowy Institute, said it seemed to be a self defeating move by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Faso, R-Kinderhook, said the administration is appropriately applying diplomatic, economic and, to a lesser extent, military pressure on North Korea.

North Korea on Monday said the rocket was capable of carrying a nuclear warhead.

Earlier on Monday at a daily news briefing, United Nations spokesman Stephane Dujarric called the latest missile launch by the DPRK a "violation of Security Council resolutions and a threat to peace and security in the region". "North Korea should not make an inaccurate judgment because of a changed [political] environment" in the South.

"If you recall, there was a time when North Korea announced it was suspending this kind of (nuclear) program, but unfortunately certain participants in the negotiations process did not have enough patience".

This latest provocation coincided with the opening of the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing, concerning Chinese President Xi Jinping's ambitious development project.

China is North Korea's largest trading partner and the closest thing it has to an ally, and experts have long said it has the most leverage over the reclusive state.

He doubted whether Pyongyang would ever be able to build a functioning ICBM "because the United States is putting real pressure on not only North Korea but all other countries".

Other reports by iNewsToday