North Korea celebrates longest-range ballistic missile test

Bruno Cirelli
Mag 19, 2017

North Korea claims the missile was a new model.

(AP Photo/Wong Maye-E, File). A missile would need twice the maximum range of Hwasong-12 to hit mainland America.

North Korea's official Korean- Central News Agency (KCNA) called the missile a "new ground-toground medium long-range strategic ballistic rocket", and said the "Hwasong-12" was "capable of carrying a large, heavy nuclear warhead". The last set of sanctions, imposed in March, capped China's imports of North Korean coal, a key cash earner for North Korea.

The UN chief called on North Korea "to ensure full compliance with its global obligations and return to the path of denuclearization".

Ju Yong Choi said US' criticism of it was a "wanton violation of the sovereignty and dignity of the DPRK [Democratic People's Republic of Korea]".

"This is the longest-range missile North Korea has ever tested [other than space launches]", Jeffrey Lewis, of the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in the U.S. said. The United States and China are reportedly working on a new even tougher resolution.

China might support a new round of United Nations sanctions against North Korea after Pyongyang launched another missile test just hours before Beijing held its biggest diplomatic event of the year, the belt and road forum, observers said. The adoption of the statement comes on the eve of an emergency, closed-door meeting of the Security Council scheduled for Tuesday.

The council statement called the launch "highly destabilizing behavior" that "is greatly increasing tension in the [East Asia] region and beyond".

North Korean officials claim the recent launch is proof that the nation is capable of delivering a nuclear warhead that could possibly reach the USA or its allies.

"We are calling on all of those folks in the region, particularly China and Russian Federation, to do everything they can in terms of sanctions to help resolve the situation and bring stability to the Peninsula", the White House said. The missile fell in the Sea of Japan outside of Japan's special economic zone.

The missile launch at around 5:27 a.m. on Sunday was detected by South Korean Navy's Aegis destroyer, Yulgok Yi I, two minutes later.

Defence Minister Han Min Koo also told lawmakers that the South Korean military had spotted signs of the missile launch ahead of the test on Sunday.

Pyongyang carried out two atomic tests previous year, and has accelerated its missile launch program, despite tough United Nations sanctions aimed at denying leader Kim Jong-Un the hard currency needed to fund his weapons ambitions. It was sacked from a test site in Kusong, North Korea, and uses liquid fuel, according to ABC. Afterward, a spokesman told reporters that Moon remains "open to the possibility of dialogue with North Korea" but that it's only possible with a "change of attitude" in Pyongyang.

Other experts quickly jumped on this as sign - although not conclusive - that North Korea may have been behind the outbreak.

"They have the overwhelming dominant economic relationship with North Korea and because they have the greatest leverage, they have the greatest responsibility", he added.

North Korea is already subject to six resolutions aimed at restricting revenue and technology applicable to its nuclear and missile programs. The missile reached an altitude of 2,000 kilometers (1,245 miles), a first for a North Korean missile. Yet 38 North also says new assessments of what North Korea's missile program can do are now necessary.

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