China opposes NK missile test
World should unite to find way out of deadlock on nuclear crisis: experts
North Korea launched a missile over Japan on Friday. This was a move to show the international community Pyongyang’s determination to possess nuclear weapons, experts said, warning that relevant parties, especially the US, should not accuse others but unite to think of a practical way out of the deadlock over the Korean Peninsula nuclear crisis.
North Korea fired the missile from Sunan, north of Pyongyang, on Friday morning. It flew over the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido before landing in the Pacific Ocean, Reuters reported Friday.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said in a routine press briefing on Friday that China opposes North Korea’s ballistic missile launches as it violates UN Security Council resolutions.
The emphasis on curbing North Korea’s missile and nuclear capabilities should not come at the expense of pushing for a peaceful and diplomatic resolution, Hua said.
North Korea’s Friday launch came one day after it threatened in a statement to “sink” Japan and turn the US “into ashes
and darkness,” according to state-run (North) Korean Central News Agency on Thursday.
The UN Security Council is set to hold an emergency meeting on Friday, Reuters reported.
The UN Security Council passed Resolution 2357 on Monday to impose the latest and toughest sanctions on North Korea, including setting limits on oil exports to North Korea, banning textile exports and access to liquefied gas, and conducting a closer inspection of cargo ships going in and out of its ports.
“North Korea may have launched an intermediate-range ballistic missile with 4,000 kilometers of effective firing range on Friday,” Song Zhongping, a Beijing-based military expert who served in the Second Artillery Corps of the People’s Liberation Army (now the Rocket Force), told the Global Times on Friday.
“And theoretically speaking, North Korea has the capability to attack the US Pacific territory of Guam,” Song said.
The US Pacific territory of Guam, which North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has threatened to attack, is 3,400 kilometers from North Korea. But the US military said the direction of the missile meant the island was not at risk, the Guardian reported.
However, there are still many problems that would hinder North Korea’s capability to attack Guam, including that its intermediate-range ballistic missile has only been tested twice, which doesn’t prove it is safe and can be in full operation, Song said.
This intermediate-range ballistic missile uses a liquid booster and it takes longer for it to be launched, he noted. This means that opponents could have time to target the missile, Song said.
“It can be destroyed before launch and it also can be intercepted in mid-air,” Song said.
“North Korea is determined to develop nuclear technologies despite strong opposition from the international community because it wants leverage when talking with the US. Although it will still take some time for North Korea’s nuclear weapons to gain actual combat capability, it knows how to produce them,” Song said.
All concerned parties and the international community should reach a consensus and stay united when dealing with the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue, especially after North Korea has showed its determination, Lü Chao, a researcher on North Korea at the Liaoning Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Friday.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe slammed the launch as “utterly unacceptable,” while US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson condemned the launch on Friday, saying that China and Russia must do more to put pressure on Kim.
However, Hua said on Friday that China had made enormous sacrifices to implement the UN Security Council resolutions and that its sincerity should not be doubted.
“The US should stop accusing China as well as Russia, as the two have played an active role in pushing a solution to the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue. Instead, the US should think about the possibility of direct talks with the North Korean side, exchanging each other’s concerns,” Lü said.
South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported on Friday that South Korea had “fired two ballistic missiles in a swift response to North Korea’s latest provocation.”
It is unreasonable for South Korea to conduct missile tests and the US and its alliance to conduct military drills in response to North Korea’s missile tests, which would deteriorate the situation in Northeast Asia, Lü said.
South Korea’s military fire one of two Hyunmoo-2 missiles from an eastern site near the inter-Korean border just six minutes after North Korea fired a missile on Friday. One “accurately hit” a simulated target in the East Sea about 250 kilometers away. The other, however, fell into the water “in the initial stage,” Yonhap News reported on Friday. Inset: A passerby looks at a TV screen reporting news about North Korea’s latest missile launch in Tokyo, Japan on Friday.