Published: Sun, May 14, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Japan, S. Korean leaders discuss North's missile


North Korea has launched a ballistic missile, the first launch since newly elected South Korean president Moon Jae-in has taken office.

"The president said while South Korea remains open to the possibility of dialogue with North Korea, it is only possible when the North shows a change in attitude", Yoon Young-chan, Moon's press secretary, told a briefing.

"Relevant Security Council resolutions have clear rules about North Korea using ballistic missile technology to carry out launches".

Experts said Sunday's test showed a considerably longer range than missiles North Korea had previously tested, meaning it had likely made improvements since its February test.

The direction of the missile, so close to Russian Federation, was likely an attempt by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to send a message to both Moscow and Beijing, said Carl Schuster, a Hawaii Pacific University professor and former director of operations at the US Pacific Command's Joint Intelligence Center.

The former commander of Japan's Maritime Self Defense Force, Makoto Yamazaki, said that initial information points out that the missile was able to cover over 4,000 kilometers and hit targets at the Pacific island of Guam, a United States island territory in Micronesia, in the Western Pacific.

He said the government strongly condemned this "grave challenge to the peace and security of the Korean peninsula and the global community", his spokesman Yoon Young-Chan said.

In a statement issued Saturday night, the White House press secretary points out that the missile landed closer to Russian Federation than to Japan.

It was his second appearance before reporters Sunday after North Korea fired the missile that Japanese officials say may have been a new type given its flight time and unusually high altitude.

North Korea launched ballistic missiles, thought to be intermediate-range types, from a site near its eastern coast on April 5 and 16, but both launches ended in failure.

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"North Korea has been a flagrant menace for far too long".

"Despite strong warning from the worldwide community, North Korea launched a ballistic missile again", Abe said.

South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement that the missile was sacked early Sunday morning from near Kusong, in North Phyongan province.

It added that the new launch should serve as a call for stronger sanctions against North Korea.

The North has staged two atomic tests and dozens of missile launches since the start of previous year in its quest to develop a missile capable of delivering a nuclear warhead to the USA mainland.

Multiple sets of United Nations and U.S. sanctions against North Korea have done little to deter Pyongyang from pursuing its nuclear and missile ambitions. But she said more analysis was needed.

It is reported to be continuing efforts to miniaturise nuclear warheads and fit them on missiles capable of reaching the U.S.

Japan also lodged protest to North Korea over the missile launch through the Japanese Embassy in Beijing. The USS Carl Vinson, an aircraft supercarrier, is also engaging with South Korean navy ships in waters off the Korean Peninsula, according to Seoul's Defense Ministry.

US President Donald Trump has threatened military action against the North but recently appears to have softened his stance, saying he would be "honored" to meet the North's leader Kim Jong-Un under the right conditions.

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

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