North Korea: New long-range missile can carry heavy nuke

22 May, 2017, 16:33 | Author: Essie Rivera
  • North Korea missile launch

The South Korean, Japanese and USA militaries say the missile flew for half an hour and reached an unusually high altitude before landing in the Sea of Japan.

North Korea is barred from ballistic missile technology under multiple Security Council resolutions.

Last time Pyongyang test-fired a medium-range ballistic missile from that region was in February this year.

North Korea said on Monday it had successfully conducted a newly developed mid-to-long range missile test on Sunday, supervised by leader Kim Jong Un and aimed at verifying the capability to carry a "large scale heavy nuclear warhead".

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Monday that North Korea's latest missile test was "dangerous", but he warned that Pyongyang was being intimidated and called for a peaceful solution to regional tensions.

Although outside experts see several places where North Korea is likely stretching the truth, the missile launched Sunday appears to be the most powerful the country has ever tested.

The U.S. has always been skeptical that Pyongyang has the technology to mount a nuclear warhead.

"I would like to confirm that we are categorically against the expansion of the club of nuclear states, including through the Korean Peninsula", Putin told reporters.

New sanctions were expected to be discussed at a closed council meeting Tuesday, the diplomats said, speaking on condition of anonymity because talks have been private.

Dictator Kim Jong Un personally oversaw the launch and, according to state media, warned that USA territories were within reach and that the North was capable of a retaliatory strike.

The Russian Defence Ministry said on Sunday that the missile crashed into the Sea of Japan around 500 km (310 miles) off the Russian coast.

Putin went on to add that while he's paying close attention to the actions of Kim Jong-Un, he doesn't necessarily want to jump into a situation where the world is forcing North Korea's hand.

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North Korea claims the missile was a new model.

"It appears to have not only demonstrated an intermediate-range ballistic missile that might enable them to reliably strike the USA base at Guam, but more importantly, may represent a substantial advance to developing an intercontinental ballistic missile".

British U.N. Ambassador Matthew Rycroft also called the test a threat to global peace and security and said "the United Kingdom favors tougher sanctions".

"The missile may have a maximum range capable of reaching Alaska and Hawaii if it is fired at a standard angle", Kim Dong-yub, a professor at the Institute for Far Eastern Studies in Kyungnam University, said according to Yonhap News.

"The president expressed deep regret over the fact that this reckless provocation. occurred just days after a new government was launched in South Korea", senior presidential secretary Yoon Young-chan said.

Throughout Putin's comments on the matter, a theme seemed to persist - knocking the USA and its allies' past actions towards North Korea.

The White House condemned the attack and made an unusually speculative statement, saying that "the President can not imagine that Russian Federation is pleased". "This missile launch posed no threat to the Russian Federation".

It says the "era of strategic patience" with North Korea is over.

Moon, South Korea's first liberal leader in almost a decade, said as he took his oath of office last week that he'd be willing to visit North Korea if the circumstances were right.

It is hard to say when the North will have a reliably tested ICBM ready to deploy, said Lee Choon-geun, a senior research fellow at South Korea's state-run Science and Technology Policy Institute.

"If Russia can be instrumental in resolving a key worldwide dispute like North Korea, they will want to parry that into something else, to use it as a bargaining chip", he said.

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