Wednesday, 19 September, 2018

North Korea claims new missile can carry "large" nuke

Ben Pena | 15 May, 2017, 22:58

"The test firing of ICBMs will occur at any time and place, at the will of North Korea's highest leadership", Ji said. Some analysts believe the missile, if proven in further tests, could reach Alaska and Hawaii if fired on a normal, instead of a lofted, trajectory.

The statement called for "far stronger sanctions" against North Korea and said the U.S. was watching the situation closely with South Korea and Japan. The test gives a boost to leader Kim Jong Un as he seeks to show his people that he's standing up to America and South Korea.

North Korean propaganda must be considered with wariness - Pyongyang has threatened for decades to reduce Seoul to a "sea of fire", for instance - but Monday's claim, if confirmed, would mark another big advance toward the North's goal of fielding a nuclear-tipped missile capable of reaching the USA mainland.

John Schilling, a North Korean analyst, wrote on 38 North that the regime's successful missile test represented a level of performance "never before seen" from a North Korean missile, adding that it would have flown a distance of some 4,500 kilometers if launched at a flatter trajectory, which would place all of South Korea, Japan and USA military bases in Guam within its reach. He recalled that some time ago North Korea said it would halt its nuclear program, but not all participants of talks had enough patience.

North Korean propaganda must be considered with wariness, but if confirmed, the claim marks another big step forward in the country's escalating efforts to field a nuclear-tipped missile capable of reaching the USA mainland.

Officials believe North Korea aspires to use the missile to target ships. The map produced for the poll showing where Americans thought North Korea might be located was downright embarrassing.

KCNA said the missile, named Hwasong-12, flew 787 kilometers (489 miles) and soared to an altitude of 2,111.5 kilometers along its planned flight trajectory.

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. Each new nuclear and longer-range missile test is part of the North's attempt to build a nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missile.

Trump meets Russian minister amid chaos
In addition to posting the Lavrov-Trump picture, the foreign ministry also posted video of Lavrov joking about Comey's firing. If confirmed, it would be the two men's first meeting since Trump took office in January.

The distance between North Korea and the US mainland is approximately 10,000 kilometers. During a 2016 test, the Musudan reached a height of 1,410 kilometers (880 miles). But the country has never carried out test flights of those rockets' military versions.

"Russia doesn't want North Korea to have nuclear weapons, but the response from officials in Moscow has been minimal because they know Russian Federation isn't one of Pyongyang's targets", he added.

The Russian leader, speaking at the One Belt, One Road forum in Beijing, called on Pyongyang and the global community to reach a peaceful solution to the current impasse, and says North Korea's recent missile tests have been "counterproductive". Joshua Pollack of the US -based Nonproliferation Review said the lofted trajectory of the launch would test re-entry by putting the missile through extra stress. "The North Koreans duped Jimmy Carter - an emissary of Clinton - and the Clinton administration to subsidize the North Korean nuclear program in exchange for the counterfeit promise that North Korea would limit itself to civilian nuclear power".

"The test-fire aimed at verifying the tactical and technological specifications of the newly-developed ballistic rocket capable of carrying a large-size heavy nuclear warhead", the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), North Korea's official mouthpiece, reported in English.

But in comments that appeared aimed at the United States, he said that "intimidating (North Korea) is unacceptable". "The speed at which a missile comes through the atmosphere creates an enormous amount of air pressure and heat".

While the White House called for stronger sanctions and noted the missile's proximity to Russian Federation, saying President Trump could not "imagine that Russian Federation is pleased".

Another important point: One test, even a successful one, does not completely prove a missile's capabilities.

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