North Korea’s lat­est mis­sile sent with ‘Guam in mind’

National Post (Latest Edition) - - WORLD -

The UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil met in emer­gency ses­sion Fri­day af­ter North Korea con­ducted its long­est- ever test flight of a bal­lis­tic mis­sile, to talk about what to do now that Kim Jong Un has ig­nored its lat­est round of sanc­tions.

The in­ter­me­di­ate- range weapon, launched early Fri­day from Su­nan, the lo­ca­tion of Py­ongyang’s in­ter­na­tional air­port, hur­tled over Ja­pan into the north­ern Pa­cific Ocean. It sig­nalled both de­fi­ance of North Korea’s ri­vals and a big tech­no­log­i­cal ad­vance.

The mis­sile trav­elled the fur­thest Py­ongyang has ever fired a pro­jec­tile, in what has been in­ter­preted as a mes­sage that the regime “has Guam in mind.”

The launch will also be seen as a di­rect chal­lenge to U. S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, who warned the North last month that it would face “fire and fury” if it threat­ened the U. S. Speak­ing at Joint Base An­drews in Mary­land Fri­day, Trump said the U. S. will de­fend it­self against at­tacks on its way of life, and that he’s more con­fi­dent than ever, af­ter see­ing the mil­i­tary hard­ware there, that U.S. op­tions for ad­dress­ing the threat from North Korea “are both ef­fec­tive and over­whelm­ing.”

The mis­sile flew about 3,700 kilome t r es — t he great­est dis­tance trav­elled by a North Korean mis­sile, and slightly greater than the dis­tance between the North Korean cap­i­tal and the U. S. ter­ri­tory of Guam. It has come un­der threat from Py­ongyang in re­cent weeks, prompt­ing Ja­panese De­fence Min­is­ter It­sunori On­odera to say that he bel i eved North Korea “has Guam in mind.”

Gar­ren Mul­loy, a de­fence ex­pert and as­so­ciate pro­fes­sor of in­ter­na­tional re­la­tions at Ja­pan’s Daito Bunka Uni­ver­sity, told The Daily Tele­graph: “From pre­vi­ous launches and the al­ti­tude and ranges of those mis­siles, it has been as­sumed that Guam is within range of the North’s mis­siles, but this lat­est test is proof.”

Ja­pan’s UN Am­bas­sador Koro Bessho told re­porters as he headed into the closed­door coun­cil meet­ing that he was cer­tain all 15 mem­bers “will be con­demn­ing this out­ra­geous act.”

“It is, of course, a grave threat to our own se­cu­rity but … it is a real threat to the peace and se­cu­rity of the world as a whole,” he said.

Bessho called on all coun­tries to im­ple­ment sanc­tions against North Korea, in­clud­ing mea­sures adopted four days ago in re­sponse to Py­ongyang’s sixth nu­clear test, which it said was a hy­dro­gen bomb.

The United States said those sanc­tions, com­bined with pre­vi­ous sanc­tions would ban over 90 per cent of North Korea’s ex­ports re­ported in 2016.

Call­ing the lat­est launch a “ter­ri­ble, egre­gious, il­le­gal, provoca­tive reck­less act,” Bri­tain’s UN Am­bas­sador Matthew Ry­croft, clearly re­fer­ring to China, said all coun­tries, es­pe­cially North Korea’s largest trad­ing part­ners and clos­est links, must “demon­strate that they are do­ing ev­ery­thing in their power to i mple­ment the sanc­tions of the Se­cu­rity Coun­cil and to en­cour­age the North Korean regime to change course.”


North Korean sol­dier stands guard Fri­day near Sinuiju.


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