N. Korea says new long-range mis­sile can carry nuke

The Hamilton Spectator - - CANADA & WORLD - FOS­TER KLUG

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA — North Korea said Mon­day the mis­sile it launched over the week­end was a new type of long-range bal­lis­tic rocket that can carry a heavy nu­clear war­head.

North Korean pro­pa­ganda must be con­sid­ered with wari­ness, but if con­firmed, the claim marks an­other big step for­ward in the coun­try’s es­ca­lat­ing ef­forts to field a nu­cle­artipped mis­sile ca­pa­ble of reach­ing the U.S. main­land. Out­side ex­perts don’t be­lieve the North can do that yet, but each new test pushes them closer to the goal.

The launch Sun­day is an im­me­di­ate chal­lenge to South Korea’s new leader, a lib­eral elected just five days ear­lier who ex­pressed a de­sire to reach out to North Korea. The coun­try’s push to boost its weapons pro­gram also makes it one of the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion’s most ur­gent for­eign pol­icy wor­ries.

The mis­sile flew for half an hour and reached an un­usu­ally high al­ti­tude be­fore land­ing in the Sea of Ja­pan, the South Korean, Ja­panese and U.S. mil­i­taries said. Tokyo said the flight pat­tern could in­di­cate a new type of mis­sile.

The launch jeop­ar­dizes new South Korean Pres­i­dent Moon Jaein’s will­ing­ness for di­a­logue with the North, and came as U.S., Ja­panese and Euro­pean navies gather for joint war games in the Pa­cific.

“The pres­i­dent ex­pressed deep re­gret over the fact that this reck­less provo­ca­tion … oc­curred just days af­ter a new govern­ment was launched in South Korea,” se­nior pres­i­den­tial sec­re­tary Yoon Youngchan said. “The pres­i­dent said we are leav­ing open the pos­si­bil­ity of di­a­logue with North Korea, but we should sternly deal with a provo­ca­tion to pre­vent North Korea from mis­cal­cu­lat­ing.”

U.S. am­bas­sador Nikki Ha­ley said on ABC tele­vi­sion that the U.S. has been work­ing well with China, Py­ongyang’s clos­est ally, and she raised the pos­si­bil­ity of new sanc­tions against North Korea.

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