Mon, May 15, 2017 - Page 1 News List

N Korean missile flies about 700km

TESTING SEOUL?South Korea’s National Security Council met and officials later said that there could be no dialogue unless the North changes its attitude

Reuters, SEOUL

A South Korean man yesterday watches a television at a station in Seoul displaying news broadcasts reporting on North Korea’s ballistic missile launch.

Photo: EPA

North Korea yesterday fired a ballistic missile in defiance of calls to rein in its weapons program, days after a new leader in South Korea came to power pledging to engage it in dialogue.

The US Pacific Command said it was assessing the type of missile, but it was “not consistent with an intercontinental ballistic missile.”

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

The missile flew 700km and reached an altitude of more than 2,000km, according to officials in South Korea and Japan, further and higher than an intermediate-range missile North Korea successfully tested in February from the same region of Kusong, northwest of Pyongyang.

Experts said the altitude the missile tested yesterday reached meant it was launched at a high trajectory, which would limit the lateral distance it traveled.

However, if it was fired at a standard trajectory, it would have a range of at least 4,000km, experts said.

Kim Dong-yub, of Kyungnam University’s Institute of Far Eastern Studies in Seoul, said he estimated a standard trajectory would give it a range of 6,000km.

Japan said the missile flew for 30 minutes before dropping into the sea between North Korea’s east coast and Japan.

“The launch may indeed represent a new missile with a long range,” said Jonathan McDowell of the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, referring to the estimated altitude of more than 2,000km. “It is definitely concerning.”

In Washington, the White House said US President Trump “cannot imagine Russia is pleased” with the test as the missile landed closer to Russia than to Japan.

“With the missile impacting so close to Russian soil — in fact, closer to Russia than to Japan — the president cannot imagine that Russia is pleased,” it said.

Speaking in Beijing, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) had discussed the situation on the Korean Peninsula, including the latest missile launch and expressed “mutual concerns” about growing tension.

The launch, at 5:27am, came two weeks after North Korea fired a missile that disintegrated minutes into flight, marking its fourth consecutive failure since March.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who took office on Wednesday, held his first National Security Council in response to the launch, which he called a “clear violation” of UN Security Council resolutions, his office said.

“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,” Moon’s press secretary Yoon Young-chan told a briefing.

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