NORTH KOREA confirmed Sunday’s ballistic missile test yesterday — claiming it had taken a major step forward in its nuclear capabilities.
The country’s KCNA news agency said the test of the “strategic” medium-long range Pukguksong-2 was successful, after Kim Jong Un “personally guided” the missile launch.
It claimed the missile has a solid fuel engine which would allow the weapon to be launched within minutes, evade interception by anti-ballistic missiles and carry a nuclear warhead.
Most of North Korea’s missiles are fired with liquid fuel and easy to detect before lift-off.
The UN security council was expected to hold an emergency meeting on the launch later yesterday at the request of the US, Japan and South Korea.
“These are serious military and security threats,” said South Korean Unification Ministry spokesman Jeong Joon Hee.
“Pyongyang has no intention of backing away from its goal to become a country with nuclear weapons.”
China also condemned the missile launch but cautioned against further punitive action against North Korea, saying existing sanctions had failed.
An editorial in yesterday’s Global Times newspaper — linked to the Communist Party of China — was critical of Pyongyang and Washington in equal measure.
“Pyongyang’s persistence in launching missiles will further provide an excuse to accelerate Washington and Seoul’s pace to deploy the Terminal High Altitude Area Defence [THAAD] anti-missile system in South Korea, which damages China’s strategic interests.”
China and Russia have opposed the siting of the missiles in South Korea, saying they are aimed at their own nuclear weapons.
The paper said the military “threat” facing North Korea from US forces based in the south “looks very real and it is now enduring the harshest sanctions since the end of the cold war.”
The Global Times pointed out that Pyongyang’s limited nuclear arsenal could not serve as a deterrent to leading atomic power the US.
But: “If Washington keeps cracking down on Pyongyang’s nuclear development while turning a blind eye to North Korea’s concerns, their current confrontation will develop into an absurd struggle.”
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