N Korea fires mis­sile close to Ja­pan

The Myanmar Times - - World -

NORTH Korea yes­ter­day test-fired a sub­ma­rine-launched mis­sile 500 kilo­me­tres to­ward Ja­pan, mark­ing what weapons an­a­lysts de­scribed as a clear step for­ward for its nu­clear strike am­bi­tions.

The flight dis­tance, which was tracked by South Korea’s mil­i­tary Joint Chiefs of Staff, far ex­ceeded any pre­vi­ous SLBM tests, sug­gest­ing sig­nif­i­cant progress in tech­ni­cal prow­ess by the North Kore­ans.

A proven SLBM sys­tem would take North Korea’s nu­clear strike threat to a new level, al­low­ing de­ploy­ment far be­yond the Korean penin­sula and a “sec­ond-strike” ca­pa­bil­ity to re­tal­i­ate in the event of an at­tack on its mil­i­tary bases.

“While there are still a lot of ques­tions about the de­tails, this test cer­tainly seems to have been suc­cess­ful and sig­nif­i­cant,” said Jef­frey Lewis, di­rec­tor of the East Asia Non­pro­lif­er­a­tion Pro­gram at the Mid­dle­bury In­sti­tute of In­ter­na­tional Stud­ies in Cal­i­for­nia.

“This sys­tem is still in de­vel­op­ment, but North Korea is clearly mak­ing progress,” Mr Lewis said.

Cur­rent UN res­o­lu­tions pro­hibit North Korea from any use of bal­lis­tic mis­sile tech­nol­ogy, but Py­ongyang has con­tin­ued to carry out nu­mer­ous launches fol­low­ing its fourth nu­clear test in Jan­uary.

South Korea has re­sponded by agree­ing to de­ploy a so­phis­ti­cated United States anti-mis­sile sys­tem – known as THAAD – a move that has se­ri­ously strained re­la­tions with North Korea’s main diplo­matic ally, China.

Ja­panese Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe said yes­ter­day’s mis­sile breached his coun­try’s Air De­fence Iden­ti­fi­ca­tion Zone and con­demned what he called an “un­for­giv­able, reck­less act”

and a grave threat to Ja­pan’s se­cu­rity.

Ear­lier this month, North Korea fired a land-launched bal­lis­tic mis­sile di­rectly into Ja­panese-con­trolled wa­ters for the first time. –

Photo: AFP

A man watches tele­vi­sion news show­ing file footage of North Korea’s leader Kim In­cheon Air­port, Seoul, yes­ter­day.

Jong-un dur­ing the mis­sile launch, at

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