North Korea tests first ICBM

Trump fumes • Rus­sia, China urge mil­i­tary freeze

Kuwait Times - - FRONT PAGE - Saudi po­lice­man killed by ex­plo­sive de­vice

RIYADH: A Saudi po­lice­man was killed yes­ter­day and three oth­ers in­jured by an ex­plo­sive de­vice in a flash­point Shi­ite-dom­i­nated city, the in­te­rior min­istry said. The po­lice­men were on pa­trol in the early morn­ing in the Qatif area in Saudi Ara­bia’s East­ern Prov­ince when the de­vice blew up, the min­istry said, call­ing the in­ci­dent a “ter­ror­ist” at­tack. HH the Amir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ah­mad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah sent a ca­ble of con­do­lences to Saudi King Sal­man bin Ab­du­laziz Al-Saud over the “mar­tyr­dom” of the po­lice­man and in­jury of three oth­ers. The Amir voiced Kuwait’s sharp con­dem­na­tion of this heinous ter­ror­ist at­tack that tar­geted in­no­cents and aimed at dis­rupt­ing se­cu­rity and sta­bil­ity in Saudi Ara­bia. He ex­pressed sym­pa­thy with the king­dom, and sup­ported all mea­sures taken by Saudi au­thor­i­ties to fight ter­ror­ism and safe­guard se­cu­rity and sta­bil­ity.

MOSCOW: North Korea’s dec­la­ra­tion that it had suc­cess­fully tested its first in­ter­con­ti­nen­tal bal­lis­tic mis­sile able to reach the US main­land trig­gered a joint Chi­nese-Rus­sian ap­peal for a mil­i­tary freeze to lower the ten­sion be­tween Py­ongyang and Wash­ing­ton. Ex­perts said the de­vice could reach Alaska. The launch came as Amer­i­cans pre­pared to mark In­de­pen­dence Day and sparked a Twit­ter out­burst from US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump who urged China to act to “end this non­sense once and for all”.

The North’s pos­ses­sion of a work­ing ICBM - some­thing that Trump has vowed “won’t hap­pen” - could be a gamechanger for coun­tries seek­ing to thwart the mil­i­tary goals of the iso­lated state. China and Rus­sia called for a mora­to­rium on fur­ther mis­sile and nu­clear tests by Py­ongyang af­ter a meet­ing be­tween lead­ers Vladimir Putin and Xi Jin­ping in Moscow. They also called for a si­mul­ta­ne­ous sus­pen­sion of large-scale US-South Korea mil­i­tary ex­er­cises. “The op­pos­ing sides should start ne­go­ti­a­tions and af­firm gen­eral prin­ci­ples of their re­la­tions in­clud­ing the non-use of force, re­jec­tion of ag­gres­sion and peace­ful co­ex­is­tence,” the joint state­ment said.

Bri­tish for­eign min­is­ter Boris John­son asked the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity to “re­dou­ble its ef­forts to im­pose a price on this regime, which strains ev­ery nerve and sinew to build nu­clear weapons and launch il­le­gal mis­siles”. The “land­mark” test of a Hwa­song14 mis­sile was over­seen by leader Kim JongUn, an emo­tional fe­male an­nouncer said on state Korean Cen­tral Tele­vi­sion.

The broad­caster showed his hand­writ­ten or­der to carry out the launch, and pic­tures of him grin­ning in cel­e­bra­tion, clench­ing his fist. The rocket was “a very pow­er­ful ICBM that can strike any place in the world”, the an­nouncer said, and “a ma­jor break­through in the his­tory of our repub­lic”. The North’s Academy of De­fense Science, which de­vel­oped the mis­sile, said it reached an al­ti­tude of 2,802 km and flew 933 km, call­ing it the “fi­nal gate to round­ing off the state nu­clear force”.

There are still doubts whether the North can minia­tur­ize a nu­clear weapon suf­fi­ciently to fit it onto a mis­sile nose cone, or if it has mas­tered the tech­nol­ogy needed for it to sur­vive the dif­fi­cult re-en­try into the Earth’s at­mos­phere. But it has made great progress in its mis­sile ca­pa­bil­i­ties since Kim came to power. He has over­seen three nu­clear tests and mul­ti­ple rocket launches. In re­sponse to the launch but be­fore the an­nounce­ment, Trump asked on Twit­ter: “Does this guy have any­thing bet­ter to do with his life?” The United Na­tions has im­posed mul­ti­ple sets of sanc­tions on Py­ongyang, which re­torts that it needs nu­clear arms to de­fend it­self against the threat of in­va­sion.

US Pa­cific Com­mand con­firmed the test and said it was a land-based, in­ter­me­di­ate range mis­sile that flew for 37 min­utes be­fore splash­ing down in the Sea of Ja­pan, adding the launch did not pose a threat to North Amer­ica. Moscow’s de­fense min­istry called it medi­um­range. But Tokyo - in whose ex­clu­sive eco­nomic zone it came down - es­ti­mated the max­i­mum al­ti­tude to have “greatly ex­ceeded” 2,500 kilo­me­tres, prompt­ing arms con­trol spe­cial­ist Jef­frey Lewis to re­spond on Twit­ter: “That’s it. It’s an ICBM. An ICBM that can hit An­chor­age not San Fran­cisco, but still.”

David Wright, of the Union of Con­cerned Sci­en­tists, wrote on the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s allth­ingsnu­clear blog that the avail­able fig­ures im­plied the mis­sile had “a max­i­mum range of roughly 6,700 km on a stan­dard tra­jec­tory”. “That range would not be enough to reach the lower 48 states or the large is­lands of Hawaii, but would al­low it to reach all of Alaska.” Ja­panese Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe told re­porters: “This launch clearly shows that the threat has grown.”

The US, Ja­pan and South Korea will hold a sum­mit on the is­sue on the side­lines of this week’s G20 meet­ing, he added. “Also I will en­cour­age Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping and Pres­i­dent Putin to take more con­struc­tive mea­sures.” South Korea’s Pres­i­dent Moon Jae-In warned the North against cross­ing “the bridge of no re­turn”.

Wash­ing­ton, South Korea’s se­cu­rity guar­an­tor, has more than 28,000 troops in the coun­try to de­fend it from its com­mu­nist neigh­bor. Fears of con­flict reached a peak ear­lier this year as the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion sug­gested mil­i­tary ac­tion was an op­tion un­der con­sid­er­a­tion. There has also been anger in the United States over the death of Otto Warm­bier, an Amer­i­can stu­dent de­tained in North Korea for around 18 months be­fore he was re­turned home in a coma in June. Trump has been pin­ning his hopes on China North Korea’s main diplo­matic ally - to pres­sure Py­ongyang. Last week he de­clared that Bei­jing’s ef­forts had failed, but re­turned to the idea on Twit­ter fol­low­ing the launch: “Per­haps China will put a heavy move on North Korea and end this non­sense once and for all!” -—AFP


This pic­ture taken and re­leased yes­ter­day shows the test-fire of the in­ter­con­ti­nen­tal bal­lis­tic mis­sile Hwa­song-14 at an undis­closed lo­ca­tion in North Korea.

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