North Korea is reportedly celebrating the test of a "perfect weapon system"

Pauline Gross
May 19, 2017

If North Korea's state-run media agency's claim that the missile reached an altitude of 1,312 miles is true, that's a higher altitude and longer flight time than any other missiles tested to date, according to several South Korean analysts. That suggests a range of up to 2,500 miles if it is fired more horizontally, Western experts said.

"Our position is that we can launch a preemptive strike to reduce damage on our side if there are clear signs of an imminent North Korean missile attack", Han said at the session of the South Korean Parliament's National Defense Committee, as quoted by the Yonhap news agency.

The U.N. Security Council said Sunday it will hold urgent consultations on North Korea's latest ballistic missile test at the request of the United States, Japan and South Korea.

"North Korea's latest successful missile test represents a level of performance never before seen from a North Korean missile", John Schilling, an aerospace engineer, told the Post.

Its goal is to develop a missile capable of delivering a nuclear warhead to the continental United States - something President Donald Trump has vowed "won't happen".

North Korea's past satellite rocket launches have been called clandestine tests of ICBM technology, but it is not thought to have tested a true intercontinental ballistic missile yet. The country's dictator Kim Jong Un is warning (he's done it before) that the country is well on its way to striking the USA mainland and military bases throughout the Pacific Ocean.

Tensions between the two reached a peak in recent weeks, with Washington saying military action was an option under consideration and Pyongyang issuing threats of its own, sending fears of conflict spiralling.

The launch jeopardizes new South Korean President Moon Jae-in's willingness for dialogue with the North, and it came as U.S., Japanese and European navies gather for joint war games in the Pacific.

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Tensions heightened in the Korean Peninsula in recent weeks amid speculation Pyongyang may conduct its sixth nuclear test sometime soon while the North's leader continued to threaten neighboring South and the USA with its series of missile tests, some of which had recently failed.

Russian President Vladimir Putin weighed in Monday morning, calling the test "counterproductive" and "dangerous", but he also suggested the USA and it's regional allies could bear some of the blame, saying "we must stop intimidating North Korea".

"We consider (the missile test) counter-productive, harmful and unsafe", Putin told reporters after an global forum in Beijing.

Earlier Sunday, the White House press secretary's office said in a statement that "North Korea has been a flagrant menace for far too long".

Pyongyang insists it needs nuclear weapons to defend against the threat of invasion by the USA, and shows no indication of any willingness to give them up, whatever concessions are offered. He said Sunday's launch - the seventh such firing by North Korea this year - may have been of a new mobile, two-stage liquid-fueled missile North Korea displayed in a huge April 15 military parade. According to a report by the private intelligence firm Stratfor, "When China recently threatened to cut off fuel exports to North Korea if it conducted its sixth nuclear weapons test, Russian Federation hinted it could replace at least some of that supply".

Outsiders express more skepticism about North Korea's nuclear warhead claims. "I do not believe we are putting requisite pressure against China that is necessary to stop Pyongyang, and I'll continue to urge the administration to do so".

China, Pyongyang's sole major ally and main trading partner, which has been under growing U.S. pressure to help rein in its wayward neighbour, urged restraint.

Other reports by GizPress

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