N Korea leader says ‘all US’ within range after mis­sile test

Sunday Express - - FRONT PAGE -

Seoul: North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un boasted of his coun­try’s abil­ity to strike any tar­get in the US after an ICBM test that ex­perts on Satur­day said could even bring New York into range. Kim said the test was “meant to send a grave warn­ing to the US” and show the North’s abil­ity to launch an at­tack “at any place and time”.

KIM Jong-Un boasted of North Korea’s abil­ity to strike any tar­get in the US after a sec­ond ICBM test that weapons ex­perts said Satur­day could even bring New York into range — in a po­tent chal­lenge to Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump.

China con­demned the test but US Sec­re­tary of State Rex Tiller­son said Bei­jing and Moscow bore “unique re­spon­si­bil­ity” for the grow­ing threat posed by the reclu­sive North. Un­der Kim’s lead­er­ship North Korea has ac­cel­er­ated its drive to­wards a cred­i­ble nuclear strike ca­pa­bil­ity, in de­fi­ance of in­ter­na­tional con­dem­na­tion and mul­ti­ple sets of UN sanc­tions.

Kim said the test “is meant to send a grave warn­ing to the US” and demon­strated the North’s abil­ity to launch “at any place and time,” the of­fi­cial Korean Cen­tral News Agency (KCNA) said. The “leader said proudly the test also con­firmed all the US main­land is within our strik­ing range,” it said. Trump de­nounced the launch as “reck­less and danger­ous” and re­jected Py­ongyang’s claims that such tests helped en­sure its se­cu­rity. “The United States will take all nec­es­sary steps to en­sure the se­cu­rity of the Amer­i­can home­land and pro- tect our al­lies in the re­gion.” Weapons ex­perts said the al­ti­tude and flight time of Fri­day’s mis­sile sug­gested it was sig­nif­i­cantly more pow­er­ful than the July 4 test, with a the­o­ret­i­cal range of around 10,000 kilo­me­tres mean­ing it might be able to reach east coast US cities like New York, de­pend­ing on the pay­load size.

“North Korea seems to have made a log­i­cal step for­ward, as it tries to per­fect the tech­nolo­gies to build and field an op­er­a­tionally-vi­able ICBM that can threaten the main­land United States,” said Michael Elle­man, mis­sile de­fence spe­cial­ist at the Lon­don-based In­ter­na­tional In­sti­tute for Strate­gic Stud­ies.

Kim Dong-Yub, a de­fence an­a­lyst at the In­sti­tute for Far Eastern Stud­ies at Kyung­nam Univer­sity, said the North may have suc­ceeded in minia­tur­is­ing war­heads down to 750 kilo­grams. “If the mis­sile car­ries a 750 kilo­grams pay­load, its range could be 10,000 kilo­me­tres. Tak­ing into ac­count the Earth’s ro­ta­tion, it means it could reach not only the west­ern cities but New York and Wash­ing­ton as well,” he said.

Tiller­son said Py­ongyang’s main ally Bei­jing, to­gether with Moscow, bore re­spon­si­bil­ity for the grow­ing threat from Py­ongyang.

AFP

North Korea’s in­ter­con­ti­nen­tal bal­lis­tic mis­sile, Hwa­song-14 be­ing launched at an undis­closed place in North Korea |

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