North Korea ready to de­ploy, mass-pro­duce new mis­sile

The Hamilton Spectator - - CANADA & WORLD - ERIC TALMADGE

TOKYO — North Korea says it’s ready to de­ploy and start mass-pro­duc­ing a new medium-range mis­sile ca­pa­ble of reach­ing Ja­pan and ma­jor U.S. mil­i­tary bases there fol­low­ing a test launch it claims con­firmed the mis­sile’s com­bat readi­ness and is an “an­swer” to U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s poli­cies.

The solid-fuel Pukguk­song-2 mis­sile flew about 500 kilo­me­tres and reached a height of 560 kilo­me­tres Sun­day be­fore plung­ing into the Pa­cific Ocean. North Korea’s me­dia said more mis­siles will be launched in the fu­ture.

Trump had no im­me­di­ate pub­lic com­ment.

North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un or­dered the launch and watched from an ob­ser­va­tion post, state me­dia re­ported Mon­day. The Korea Cen­tral News Agency said the test ver­i­fied tech­ni­cal as­pects of the weapon sys­tem and ex­am­ined its “adapt­abil­ity un­der var­i­ous bat­tle con­di­tions” be­fore it is de­ployed to mil­i­tary units.

Kim re­port­edly said the launch was a suc­cess, “ap­proved the de­ploy­ment of this weapon sys­tem for ac­tion” and said that it should “be rapidly mass-pro­duced.”

North Korea has sig­nif­i­cantly speeded up its mis­sile tests over the past year or so and ap­pears to be mak­ing tan­gi­ble progress to­ward de­vel­op­ing an ar­se­nal that poses a threat not only to South Korea and Ja­pan — which to­gether host about 80,000 U.S. troops — but also to­ward an in­ter­con­ti­nen­tal bal­lis­tic mis­sile ca­pa­ble of reach­ing the main­land United States.

Py­ongyang’s of­ten-stated goal is to per­fect a nu­clear war­head that it can put on a mis­sile ca­pa­ble of hit­ting Wash­ing­ton or other U.S. cities.

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