China op­poses NK mis­sile test

World should unite to find way out of dead­lock on nu­clear cri­sis: ex­perts

Global Times - Weekend - - FRONT PAGE - By Liu Xin

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.

Pho­tos: VCG

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.

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