Py­ongyang de­fi­ant as bal­lis­tic mis­sile flops

Sunday Territorian - - WORLD -

SEOUL: A North Korean midrange bal­lis­tic mis­sile ap­par­ently failed shortly af­ter launch yes­ter­day, South Korea and the US said, the third test­fire flop just this month but a clear mes­sage of de­fi­ance as a US su­per­car­rier con­ducts drills in nearby wa­ters.

North Korean bal­lis­tic mis­sile tests are banned by the United Na­tions be­cause they are seen as part of the North’s push for a nu­clear-tipped mis­sile that can hit the US main­land.

The lat­est test came as US of­fi­cials piv­oted from a hard line to diplo­macy at the UN in an ef­fort to ad­dress what may be Wash­ing­ton’s most press­ing for­eign pol­icy chal­lenge.

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump said on Twit­ter: “North Korea dis­re­spected the wishes of China & its highly re­spected Pres­i­dent when it launched, though un­suc­cess­fully, a mis­sile to­day. Bad!”

He did not an­swer re­porters’ ques­tions about the mis­sile launch upon re­turn­ing to the White House from a day trip to At­lanta. North Korea didn’t im­me­di­ately com­ment on the launch, al­though its state me­dia on Satur­day re­it­er­ated the coun­try’s goal of be­ing able to strike the con­ti­nen­tal US.

The tim­ing of the North’s test was strik­ing. Only hours ear­lier the UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil held a min­is­te­rial meet­ing on Py­ongyang’s es­ca­lat­ing weapons pro­gram. North Korean of­fi­cials boy­cotted the meet­ing, chaired by US Sec­re­tary of State Rex Tiller­son.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said the mis­sile flew for sev­eral min­utes and reached a max­i­mum height of 71km be­fore it ap­par­ently failed.

It didn’t im­me­di­ately pro­vide an es­ti­mate on how far the mis­sile flew, but a US of­fi­cial said it was likely a medi­um­range KN-17 bal­lis­tic mis­sile.

It broke up a few min­utes af­ter the launch.

Ja­pan’s Chief Cabi­net Sec­re­tary Yoshi­hide Suga, speak­ing af­ter a meet­ing of Ja­pan’s Na­tional Se­cu­rity Coun­cil, said the mis­sile was be­lieved to have trav­elled 50km and fallen on an in­land part of North Korea. An­a­lysts say the KN-17 is a new Scud-type mis­sile de­vel­oped by North Korea.

Moon Seong Mook, a South Korean an­a­lyst and for­mer mil­i­tary of­fi­cial, said the North would gain valu­able knowl­edge even from failed launches as it con­tin­ued to im­prove its tech­nolo­gies.

South Korea’s For­eign Min­istry de­nounced the launch as an “ob­vi­ous” vi­o­la­tion of UN res­o­lu­tions and the lat­est dis­play of North Korea’s “bel­liger­ence and reck­less­ness”.

“We sternly warn that the North Korean gov­ern­ment will con­tinue to face a va­ri­ety of strong puni­tive mea­sures is­sued by the UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil and oth­ers if it con­tin­ues to re­ject de­nu­cle­ari­sa­tion and play with fire in front of the world,” the min­istry said.

Satur­day’s launch comes at a point of par­tic­u­larly high ten­sion. Mr Trump sent a nu­cle­ar­pow­ered sub­ma­rine and the USS Carl Vin­son air­craft su­per­car­rier to Korean wa­ters and North Korea this week con­ducted large-scale, live-fire ex­er­cises on its eastern coast.

The US and South Korea also started in­stalling a mis­sile de­fence sys­tem that is sup­posed to be par­tially op­er­a­tional within days.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.