N. korea says seeking equilibrium with u.s.
Pyongyang’s latest test missile flew over Hokkaido in northern Japan on Friday as it travelled about 3,700 km, far enough to reach US Pacific territory of Guam.
North Korea said on Saturday it aims to reach an “equilibrium” of military force with the United States, which earlier signaled its patience for diplomacy is wearing thin after Pyongyang fired a missile over Japan for the second time in under a month.
“Our final goal is to establish the equilibrium of real force with the U.S. and make the US rulers dare not talk about military option,” North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was quoted as saying by the state news agency, KCNA.
Kim was shown beaming as he watched the missile fly from a moving launcher in photos released by the agency, surrounded by several officials.
“The combat efficiency and reliability of Hwasong-12 were thoroughly verified,” said Kim as quoted by KCNA. Kim added the North’s goal of completing its nuclear force had “nearly reached the terminal”.
North Korea has launched dozens of missiles under Kim’s leadership as it accelerates a weapons program designed to give it the ability to target the United States with a powerful, nuclear-tipped missile.
After the latest missile launch on Friday, White House National Security Adviser H. R. McMaster said the United States was fast running out of patience with North Korea’s missile and nuclear programs.
“We’ve been kicking the can down the road, and we’re out of road,” McMaster told reporters, referring to Pyong- yang’s repeated missile tests in defiance of international pressure.
“For those ... who have been commenting on a lack of a military option, there is a military option,” he said, adding that it would not be the Trump administration’s preferred choice.
Also on Friday, the UN Security Council condemned the “highly provocative” missile launch by North Korea.
It had already stepped up sanctions against North Korea in response to a nuclear bomb test on 3 September, imposing a ban on North Korea’s textile exports and capping its imports of crude oil.
North Korea’s latest test missile flew over Hokkaido in northern Japan on Friday and landed in the Pacific about 2,000 km (1,240 miles) to the east, the Japanese government said.
It traveled about 3,700 km (2,300 miles) in total, according to South Korea’s military, far enough to reach the US Pacific territory of Guam, which the North has threatened before.
“The range of this test was significant since North Korea demonstrated that it could reach Guam with this missile,” the Union of Concerned Scientists advocacy group said in a statement. However, the accuracy of the missile, still at an early stage of development, was low, it said.
On Thursday, US Secretary of State Tillerson called on China, Pyongyang’s only ally, and Russia to apply more pressure on North Korea by “taking direct actions of their own.” Beijing has pushed back, urging Washington to do more to rein in North Korea.
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