North Korea Conducts Ballistic Missile Test

Remigio Civitarese
Mag 20, 2017

North Korea has test-launched a ballistic missile that landed in the adjacent Sea of Japan.

The North's KCNA news agency said Sunday's test launch verified the homing feature of the warhead that allowed it to survive "under the worst re-entry situation" and accurately detonate.

In others he gleefully clasped hands with officers and staff after the black missile - named as the Hwasong-12 - ascended into the sky in the dawn light, atop a column of fire.

The isolated North is under multiple sets of United Nations sanctions over its nuclear and missile programmes, which have triggered global alarm.

But Japanese officials said the missile flew for about 30 minutes, travelling about 800km and reaching an altitude of 2,000km - a flight pattern that could indicate a new missile type.

"This is the longest-range missile North Korea has ever tested", Jeffrey Lewis of the Middlebury Institute of International Studies told AFP.

The U.N.'s most powerful body says that North Korea is "greatly increasing tension in the region and beyond" and that it is vitally important the country immediately show "sincere commitment to denuclearization through concrete action".

"More importantly", he added, it "may represent a substantial advance to developing an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM)".

North Korea is banned under United Nations resolutions from engaging in nuclear and missile development, but has conducted its fifth nuclear test and a string of missile launches since the start of a year ago. North Korea on Monday, May 15, 2017, boasted of a successful weekend launch of a new type of "medium long-range" ballistic rocket that can carry a nuclear warhead.

The North Korean leader claimed, "The U.S. massively brought nuclear strategic assets to the vicinity of the Korean peninsula to threaten and blackmail the DPRK, but the coward American-style fanfaronade militarily browbeating only weak countries and nations which have no nukes can never work on the DPRK and is highly ridiculous".

"The president said we are leaving open the possibility of dialogue with North Korea, but we should sternly deal with a provocation to prevent North Korea from miscalculating".

Tensions between the United States and North Korea reached a peak in recent weeks, with Washington saying military action was an option under consideration and Pyongyang issuing threats of its own.

Trump also has flexed US military muscle, though with little apparent effect in deterring North Korean leader Kim Jong Un from his rapid tempo of weapons tests.

Last month, the North put dozens of missiles on show at a giant military parade through the streets of Pyongyang, including one that appeared to be the type of device launched on Sunday.

Council diplomats say the USA and China, the North's closest ally, have been working on a new sanctions resolution.

"We consider (the missile test) counter-productive, harmful and unsafe", Putin told reporters after an worldwide forum in Beijing.

The Security Council also calls on all countries to implement the six North Korea sanctions resolutions it already has adopted "in an expeditious and serious manner".

Pyongyang says it needs atomic weapons to defend itself against the threat of invasion.

Tokyo clocked the missile as traveling about 800 kilometers (500 miles) and reaching a height of 2,000 kilometers (1,240 miles) during its half-hour flight.

There's also skepticism about North Korea's claims about its re-entry technology, which is needed to return a warhead to the atmosphere from space so it can hit its intended target. And it also lifts scientists in the authoritarian nation who are working to build an arsenal of missiles with nuclear warheads that can reach the US mainland.

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

China, Pyongyang's sole major ally and main trading partner, which has been under growing U.S. pressure to help rein in its wayward neighbour, urged restraint.

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