North Korea launches new missile

North Korea launches new missile

IT

North Korea said on Monday it had successfully conducted a mid- to-long-range missile test and would continue such launches "any time, any place", defying UN Security Council resolutions and warnings from the United States.

North Korea's official Rodong Sinmun devoted half of its six-page edition on Monday to coverage of the missile test, including vivid photographs of the launch and a jubilant Kim Jong-un celebrating with military officers.

North Korean propaganda must be considered with wariness, 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.

Even before North Korea gave its account of what happened, the launch caught the eye of experts. Schilling also predicts the missile could have flown almost 2,800 miles (or about 4,500 kilometers) if launched on a maximum trajectory - which would put Guam within striking distance of North Korean missles but "won't greatly change the strategic balance" because "aside from Guam, there aren't really any interesting targets in that range".

Gulp. Experts are calling the latest missile test in North Korea successful at "a level of performance never before seen from a North Korean missile". It said the missile fell into the Japan Sea after flying more than 700 kilometers.

The UN Security Council will hold closed consultations about the launch on Tuesday afternoon.

Tensions between the United States and North Korea reached a peak in recent weeks, with Washington saying military action was an option under consideration and Pyongyang issuing threats of its own.

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

North Korea fired a ballistic missile that landed in the sea near Russian Federation on Sunday in a launch the United States called a message to South Korea days after its new president took office pledging to engage Pyongyang in dialogue.

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Lee Dong-ryul, from South Korea's Dongduk Women's University, said that as China's influence on North Korea shrank, one of the few effective measures left in Beijing's toolkit was cutting off its oil supply to North Korea.

"More importantly", he added, it "may represent a substantial advance to developing an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM)".

Beijing has cited United Nations resolutions for all of its measures against North Korea.

Rep. Park Byeong-seug of South Korea's ruling Democratic Party said he had a short conversation with Kim Yong-jae, Pyongyang's minister of external economic relations.

There's also a political victory for North Korea.

The Trump administration has given mixed signals about his approach to the North, vowing to keep the possibility of military action on the table and deploying several warships in the region, while pledging to pursue a more diplomatic policy of "maximum pressure and engagement".

The United States called for tougher sanctions against the North, with the White House saying it "has been a flagrant menace for far too long".

U.S. President Donald Trump warned in an interview with Reuters this month that a "major, major conflict" with North Korea was possible.

  • Kyle Warner