Kim ‘plans long-range test’
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