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

North Korea carries out another ballistic missile test


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

The White House 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". But on Sunday, the Trump administration seemed to throw cold water on the idea of talks with North Korea.

The EU and NATO condemned Sunday's ballistic missile launch by North Korea.

The Kremlin spokesman declined to answer questions about where North Korea had launched its missile and advised journalists to refer these issues to military specialists.

Shortly after the launch, a US Pacific Command official was quoted by the media as saying that information gathered about the missile does not match that of an intercontinental ballistic missile.

President Moon Jae-in on Sunday called for a stern response to North Korean provocations following the latest missile launch.

Moon won Tuesday's election on a platform of a moderate approach to North Korea and has said he would be willing to go to Pyongyang under the right circumstances, arguing dialogue must be used in parallel with sanctions.

Kim Jong-Un's hermit country has vowed to continue firing ballistic missiles around the peninsula despite global protest and the arrival of naval forces in South Korea.

Pyongyang's test launch of a long-range missile tests appears to have deeply upset almost everyone with a stake in the current nuclear stand-off, including ally Beijing, arch-rival Seoul, an increasingly belligerent Washington, long-time adversary Tokyo and former friend Moscow.

The Japanese defence minister says the missile, which launched from north-western Kusong, reached an altitude of 2,000km, higher than that reached by an intermediate-range missile North Korea fired in February.Tomomi Inada said it covered a distance of about 700km (435 miles). She was traveling from Norway, where she led a delegation that held an informal meeting with former USA officials and scholars.

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Writing on his organization's blog, Wright pointed out that If the missile did reach that height and fly that long, it could reach the United States territory of Guam in the Pacific.

It represented a more significant threat because of the difficulty of tracking a mobile launcher and because of the ability to keep the missile fuelled, unlike liquid fuel rockets.

A series of North Korean missile tests this year has sparked worldwide alarm and raised tensions with the US.

Weapons experts and government officials believe the North has accomplished some technical progress with those tests. It said President Donald Trump's "maximum pressure and engagement" policy is only aimed at "stifling us" and will compel the North to "strengthen our nuclear deterrent at the maximum speed".

Trump said in an interview with Reuters in April that a "major, major conflict" with North Korea was possible but he would prefer a diplomatic outcome.

Choe Son Hui, the North's Foreign Ministry director general for USA affairs, spoke to reporters while in transit in Beijing after attending a conference with former US officials in Norway.

"The United States should never expect us to give up our nuclear capability", the main Rodong newspaper said in a commentary carried by the Korean Central News Agency.

There was no immediate reaction from China.

Putin is in Beijing for a conference on a plan for a new Silk Road.

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