North Korea's ballistic missile launch raises new fears

Angelica Greene
May 15, 2017

The European Union on Sunday condemned North Korea's latest test launch of a ballistic missile, slamming it, as well as previous launches, as a threat to global peace and security.

Japanese Defense Minister Tomomi Inada said the missile could be a new type.

China, North Korea's most important ally and key provider of food and fuel aid, has sought to cool tensions over Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programs, repeatedly calling for dialogue.

This was the North's first missile test since a launch on April 29 that was considered a failure, with the unidentified projectile exploding a few minutes after lift-off. Moon has advocated dialogue with North Korea to denuclearize.

France also condemned Pyongyang's latest missile test in a first statement issued by the Foreign Ministry in Paris since Emmanuel Macron was sworn in as president.

"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.

Experts have said the sanctions have been largely ineffective because North Korea still has trade and investment with China and Russian Federation. Data on the launch was still being analysed by the South to determine the type of missile.

Moon had said in his inauguration speech that he was willing to visit Pyongyang "in the right circumstances" to defuse tensions on the Korean peninsula.

North Korea's past satellite rocket launches have been called clandestine tests of ICBM technology, but it is not believed to have tested a true intercontinental ballistic missile yet.

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The U.S. Pacific Command said in a statement that the flight "was not consistent with an intercontinental ballistic missile", but analysts said that if the missile were to be fired on a standard trajectory it could travel about 2,800 miles, potentially endangering the U.S. air base in Guam.

Trump has threatened military action against the North but recently appeared to have softened his stance, saying he would be "honoured" to meet leader Kim Jong-Un under the right conditions.

"The timing is not coincidental", Schuster said, adding that Kim may be trying to get Putin more involved in the situation on the Korean Peninsula.

In recent years, North Korea has said it would hold talks with the United States - as long as denuclearization was not on the agenda, a deal-breaker for Washington.

Kishida says: "We need to keep studying what could be the most effective while monitoring how North Korea would respond". "If the information that has been reported about the test are correct, the missile has considerably longer range than its current missiles", Wright wrote.

Haley translated the dictatorship's seventh ballistic missile launch this year as "a message to South Korea" days after the country elected liberal Moon Jae-in president - and insisted Kim was "absolutely" feeling USA efforts to "tighten the screws" in its escalating war of words with the North.

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. The latest "provocation" should serve as a call for all nations to implement far stronger sanctions against the North, it said.

The isolated North is under multiple sets of United Nations sanctions over its nuclear and missile programmes, which have set alarm bells ringing around the region and in Washington.

Other reports by GizPress

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