Thursday, 29 June, 2017

North Korea Conducts Ballistic Missile Test

People watch a South Korean TV news broacast showing file footage of a North Korean missile launch at a railway station in Seoul People watch a South Korean TV news broacast showing file footage of a North Korean missile launch at a railway station in Seoul
Kenny Thornton | 20 May, 2017, 03:55

Outsiders also saw a significant technological jump, with the test-fire apparently flying higher and for a longer time period than any other such previous missile.

This image made from video of an undated still image broadcast in a news bulletin by North Korea's KRT on Monday, May 15, 2017, shows leader Kim Jong Un at what was said to be a missile test site at an undisclosed location in North 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 US mainland.

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

But he slammed the latest missile test as a "reckless provocation" and said dialogue would be possible "only if the North changes its attitude". Pyongyang's aggressive push to boost its weapons program also makes it one of the Trump administration's most urgent foreign policy worries, though Washington has struggled to settle on a policy. 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 rocket, "newly designed in a Korean-style", flew 787 kilometers (490 miles) and reached a maximum altitude of 2,111 kilometers (1,310 miles), the North said, and "verified the homing feature of the warhead under the worst re-entry situation and accurate performance of detonation system".

USA defense officials said it landed about 60 miles from the Russian coast.

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.

The weapon was launched on an unusually high trajectory, with KCNA saying it flew to an altitude of about 2,110km and travelled 787km before coming down in the Sea of Japan.

In recent years, North Korea successfully put satellites into orbit twice aboard long-range rockets in what the United Nations called a disguised test of long-range missile technology.

Here's a closer look at what happened in Sunday's missile launch, which came only a few days after the inauguration of a new South Korean president, and why it's viewed as a worrying development by North Korea's neighbors and Washington.

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But its arsenal is growing, so too the pace of its tests and its threats to carry out a seventh nuclear test.

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

"If the United States dares opt for a military provocation against the DPRK, we are ready to counter it", it said.

In Seoul, some citizens expressed frustration.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said in Beijing that Moscow was opposed to any new countries acquiring nuclear weapons, but that the world should talk to North Korea rather than threaten it.

The country's official Korean Central News Agency says the missile fired Sunday Korea time was a Hwasong-12 "capable of carrying a large-size heavy nuclear warhead". The last set of sanctions, imposed in March, capped China's imports of North Korean coal, a key cash earner for North Korea.

While Trump has said he'd be "honored" to talk with leader Kim under favorable conditions, Haley seemed to rule out the possibility.

The nose cone resembles that of the KN-08 ICBM the North is believed to be developing, and the lofted trajectory tests re-entry by putting the missile through extra stress, said Joshua Pollack of the USA -based Non-proliferation Review. Tokyo said the flight pattern could indicate a new type of missile. The Missile Defense Agency defines medium-range missiles as having a range of between 600 and 1,800 miles.

The missile test was launched just days after South Korea elected their new president, according to the US ambassador to the U.N. Washington has been saying that the missile test on Sunday was a clear message from North Korea to the South.

Speaking to reporters during his visit to China, Putin said Monday that "there's nothing good about" the launch. Russia's Defense Ministry put it several hundred kilometers away from the east coast city of Vladivostok.

North Korea described another launch earlier this year as a drill for an attack on USA bases in Japan - which has always been within its range.

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