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

The launch is a direct challenge to the new South Korean president elected four days ago and comes as U.S. Japanese and European navies gather for joint war games in the Pacific

The launch is a direct challenge to the new South Korean president elected four days ago and comes as U.S. Japanese and European navies gather for joint war games in the Pacific

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

"This and previous launches constitute a threat to global peace and security and further aggravate tensions in the region at a time when de-escalation is instead needed", the spokesperson said.

Amid condemnation in Seoul, Tokyo and Washington, a jubilant North Korean leader Kim Jong Un promised more nuclear and missile tests and warned that his country's weapons could strike the USA mainland and Pacific holdings.

The spokesperson urged the Korean country to "engage in a credible and meaningful dialogue with the worldwide community", proclaiming that the European Union "is ready to support such a process for dialogue".

This new launch comes just a few days after the election which made Moon-Jae-in President of South Korea.

He said Sunday's launch - the seventh such firing by North Korea this year - may have been of a new mobile, two-stage liquid-fuelled missile North Korea displayed in a huge April 15 military parade.

"While Russia is concerned about North Korea and its missiles, it also sees North Korea as an opportunity to gain leverage with the West, the USA in particular", said Matthew Chance, CNN's Moscow correspondent.

China remains one of North Korea's only allies and is responsible for much of the heavily sanctioned nation's economy. Russian President Vladimir Putin as well as a North Korean delegation attended the conference. Moon called the launch a clear violation of UN Security Council resolutions and said he will deal resolutely against such provocations while leaving the door open for dialogue.

"Radars find it easier to detect approaching rockets than ones traveling tangential to them", he said.

"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", White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer wrote in a statement.

"Let this latest provocation serve as a call for all nations to implement far stronger sanctions against North Korea", White House press secretary Sean Spicer said in a statement.

Moon Hee Sang will also work to arrange a bilateral summit, after the South Korean president, who took office on Wednesday, and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe agreed to meet as soon as possible during their telephone talks on Thursday.

Each new nuclear and longer-range missile test is part of the North's attempt to build a nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missile. "This is totally unacceptable and we strongly protest it".

But experts have long believed that manufacturing a compact warhead for a long-range missile capable of striking the United States is one of the last remaining technologies North Korea has yet to master.

Even before North Korea gave its account of what happened, the launch caught the eye of experts.

The launch complicates the new South Korean president's plan to talk to the North, and came as U.S., Japanese and European navies gather for joint war games in the Pacific.

Mr Moon, South Korea's first liberal leader in almost a decade, said as he took his oath of office last week that he would be willing to visit the North if the circumstances were right. "We are against it and consider it counterproductive, damaging, dangerous", he said.

Kim's regime has sought to advance its nuclear and ballistic missile programs. But analysts say that North Korea's weapons program is likely too far advanced for him to be able to return to the type of sunshine policies his liberal predecessors favoured.

Recommended News

We are pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news.
Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper.
Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.