N.Korea claims all of US in strike range

The Press - - World -

NORTH KOREA/US: North Korea said yes­ter­day it had con­ducted an­other suc­cess­ful test of an in­ter­con­ti­nen­tal bal­lis­tic mis­sile (ICBM) that proved its abil­ity to strike Amer­ica’s main­land, draw­ing a sharp warn­ing from US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump and a re­buke from China.

How­ever, Trump later wrote on Twit­ter that he was ‘‘very dis­ap­pointed’’ in China and that Bei­jing had done ‘‘noth­ing’’ for the United States in re­gards to North Korea, some­thing he would not al­low to con­tinue.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un per­son­ally su­per­vised the mid­night launch of the mis­sile on Fri­day night and said it was a ‘‘stern warn­ing’’ for the United States that it would not be safe from de­struc­tion if it tries to at­tack, the North’s of­fi­cial KCNA news agency said.

North Korea’s state tele­vi­sion broad­cast pic­tures of the launch, show­ing the mis­sile lift­ing off in a fiery blast in dark­ness and Kim cheer­ing with mil­i­tary aides.

‘‘The test-fire re­con­firmed the re­li­a­bil­ity of the ICBM sys­tem, demon­strated the ca­pa­bil­ity of mak­ing a sur­prise launch of the ICBM in any re­gion and place any time, and clearly proved that the whole U.S. main­land is in the fir­ing range of the DPRK mis­siles, (Kim) said with pride,’’ KCNA said.

DPRK is short for the North’s of­fi­cial name, the Demo­cratic Peo­ple’s Repub­lic of Korea.

China, the North’s main ally, said it op­posed North Korea’s ‘‘launch ac­tiv­i­ties that run counter to Se­cu­rity Coun­cil res­o­lu­tions and the com­mon wishes of the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity.’’

A for­eign min­istry state­ment added: ‘‘At the same time, China hopes all par­ties act with cau­tion, to pre­vent ten­sions from con­tin­u­ing to es­ca­late, to jointly pro­tect re­gional peace and sta­bil­ity.’’

In a tweet, Trump said, ‘‘I am very dis­ap­pointed in China. Our fool­ish past lead­ers have al­lowed them to make hun­dreds of bil­lions of dol­lars a year in trade, yet...’’

‘‘...they do NOTH­ING for us with North Korea, just talk. We will no longer al­low this to con­tinue. China could eas­ily solve this prob­lem!’’ he said in a sub­se­quent tweet.

The launch comes less than a month af­ter the North con­ducted its first ICBM test in de­fi­ance of years of ef­forts led by the United States, South Korea and Ja­pan to rein in Py­ongyang’s nu­clear weapons am­bi­tions.

The North con­ducted its fourth and fifth nu­clear tests last year and has en­gaged in an un­prece­dented pace of mis­sile de­vel­op­ment that ex­perts said sig­nif­i­cantly ad­vanced its abil­ity to launch longer-range bal­lis­tic mis­siles.

‘‘By threat­en­ing the world, th­ese weapons and tests fur­ther iso­late North Korea, weaken its econ­omy, and de­prive its peo­ple,’’ Trump said in a state­ment. ‘‘The United States will take all nec­es­sary steps to en­sure the se­cu­rity of the Amer­i­can home­land and pro­tect our al­lies in the re­gion.’’

The for­eign min­is­ters of South Korea, Ja­pan and the United States held sep­a­rate phone calls and agreed to step up strate­gic de­ter­rence against the North and push for a stronger UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil sanc­tions res­o­lu­tion, the South and Ja­pan said.

South Korea has also said it will pro­ceed with the de­ploy­ment of four ad­di­tional units of the US THAAD anti-mis­sile de­fence sys­tem that Pres­i­dent Moon Jae-in has ear­lier de­layed for an en­vi­ron­men­tal assess­ment.

Moon, who has pledged to en­gage the North in di­a­logue but was snubbed by Py­ongyang re­cently over his pro­posal to hold cross-bor­der mil­i­tary talks, said Seoul will also seek to ex­pand its mis­sile ca­pa­bil­i­ties.

China’s For­eign Min­istry ex­pressed se­ri­ous con­cern about the an­nounced move on THAAD, say­ing it will only make things more com­plex. Bei­jing op­poses the mis­sile de­fence sys­tem be­cause its power radars can look deep into China.

PHOTO: REUTERS

Do­nated flash drives are shown with im­ages of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on Hu­man Rights Foun­da­tion’s ‘‘Flash Drives for Free­dom’’ wall dur­ing the Def Con hacker con­ven­tion in Las Ve­gas, Ne­vada. The group uses the do­nated flash drives to smug­gle out­side in­for­ma­tion into North Korea, a rep­re­sen­ta­tive said.

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