North Korea missile test 'absolutely intolerable'

Feb 14, 2017, 00:26
North Korea missile test 'absolutely intolerable'

During his New Year address on January 1, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un had said that his country was close to launching an intercontinental ballistic missile indicating that the country was close to attacking the US.

Speaking hours later, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said: "The root of the North Korean nuclear issue is the contradictions between North Korea and the United States, and North Korea and South Korea".

The South Korean government said North Korea launched over 20 missiles previous year.

North Korea said on Monday it had successfully test-fired a new type of medium- to long-range ballistic missile the previous day, claiming further advancement in a weapons program it is pursuing in violation of United Nations resolutions.

US and South Korean military sources said the missile did not appear to be an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) given its flight range.

But in recent years, China has taken a tougher line on the North Korean nuclear program, voting in favor of United Nations sanctions and issuing condemnations when it conducts provocative military tests.

This latest North Korean test would, according to analysts, help South Korea further justify its plans for the new missile shield.

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Sources told CNN that the missile traveled 500 kilometers (310 miles) before landing in the Sea of Japan, also known as the East Sea, and that it was launched from North Pyongan Province.

North Korea's pursuit of large solid-fueled missiles is "a very concerning development", said Jonathan McDowell, of the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

In response to the test, the U.S., Japan, and South Korea have called for an urgent UN Security Council meeting, which is reported to take place this afternoon.

In response to the missile launch, Trump held an impromptu press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and reaffirmed the commitment to defending the ally. "Solid-fueled ballistic missiles are not fueled on site and therefore pose more of a threat because solid-fueled ballistic missiles require less support and can be deployed more quickly", Kelsey Davenport, the director of nonproliferation policy and a North Korea expert at the Arms Control Association, told Business Insider. But until Sunday, it hadn't tested a ballistic missile since October 20. "This gives allows North Korea to move its missiles through more hard terrains". It has a greater range than some of the Musudan missiles that they have been testing prior to that.

Seoul condemned the missile launch, saying it was an attempt to gain leverage by showing off its nuclear and missile capabilities after recent statements by Trump indicating he will take a hard line toward the country.

South Korean military officials said Sunday's launch did not appear to be an ICBM but was more likely a Musudan or Rodong, which have a shorter range but can be used to make other technological advances.

Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn, who is also the acting president, said his country would punish North Korea for the missile launch.