Kim ‘plans long-range test’

Herald on Sunday - - WORLD -

North Korea is pre­par­ing to test a long-range mis­sile that it be­lieves can reach the west coast of the United States, a Rus­sian politi­cian just re­turned from a visit to Py­ongyang has been quoted as say­ing.

An­ton Moro­zov, a mem­ber of the Rus­sian lower house of par­lia­ment’s in­ter­na­tional af­fairs com­mit­tee, and two other Rus­sian politi­cians vis­ited Py­ongyang on Oc­to­ber 2-6, Rus­sia’s RIA news agency re­ported.

“They are pre­par­ing for new tests of a long-range mis­sile. They even gave us math­e­mat­i­cal cal­cu­la­tions that they be­lieve prove that their mis­sile can hit the west coast of the United States,” RIA quoted Moro­zov as say­ing.

“As far as we un­der­stand, they in­tend to launch one more long-range mis­sile in the near fu­ture. And in gen­eral, their mood is rather bel­liger­ent.”

Moro­zov did not spec­ify which North Korean of­fi­cials had given him the in­for­ma­tion about the planned test.

His del­e­ga­tion had “high-level” meet­ings in Py­ongyang, RIA said, cit­ing the Rus­sian em­bassy in the North Korean cap­i­tal.

Ten­sions over North Korea’s nu­clear pro­gramme have been run­ning high since Py­ongyang staged a se­ries of mis­sile tests, and con­ducted a test ex­plo­sion on Septem­ber 3 of what it said was a hy­dro­gen bomb.

In an ex­change of tough rhetoric US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump threat­ened to “to­tally de­stroy” North Korea if it threat­ens the United States.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un re­sponded by call­ing Trump de­ranged and say­ing he would pay dearly for his threat.

De­scrib­ing meet­ings with North Korean of­fi­cials, Moro­zov said they “dis­played se­ri­ous de­ter­mi­na­tion and bel­li­cose rhetoric”.

“The sit­u­a­tion, of course, de­mands the swiftest in­ter­ven­tion of all in­ter­ested states, par­tic­u­larly those rep­re­sented in the re­gion, in or­der to pre­vent wide-scale mil­i­tary ac­tion,” the agency quoted him as say­ing.

Rus­sia has closer re­la­tions with Py­ongyang than many other world pow­ers, linked in part to Kim Il Sung, the founder of North Korea and the cur­rent leader’s grand­fa­ther, hav­ing lived for a time in the Soviet Union.

Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin has joined other world pow­ers in con­demn­ing North Korea’s weapons pro­gramme but has taken a softer line than Western govern­ments.

Putin has said Py­ongyang will not be cowed into giv­ing up its weapons pro­gramme. He has ac­cused Wash­ing­ton of try­ing to ef­fect regime change in North Korea, and pre­dicted that would un­leash chaos.

Kim Jong Un

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