Kim Jong Un calls for more tests of mis­siles in Pa­cific Ocean area

● North Korea in de­fi­ant mood as Trump says ‘all op­tions on ta­ble’

The Scotsman - - World News - By FOSTER KLUG In Seoul

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has called for more weapons tests tar­get­ing the Pa­cific Ocean, a day af­ter his na­tion for the first time flew a bal­lis­tic mis­sile de­signed to carry a nu­clear pay­load over Ja­pan.

The ag­gres­sive mis­sile launch – prob­a­bly the long­est ever from North Korea – over the territory of a close US ally sends a clear mes­sage of de­fi­ance as Wash­ing­ton and Seoul con­duct war games nearby.

Py­ongyang’s of­fi­cial Korean Cen­tral News Agency said it was a Hwa­song-12 in­ter­me­di­ate range mis­sile that the North first suc­cess­fully tested in May and threat­ened to fire into wa­ters near Guam ear­lier this month.

Mr Kim was present for in­ter­me­di­ate range mis­sile launch over Ja­pan, the agency said. He ex­pressed “great sat­is­fac­tion” over Tuesday’s launch which he called a “mean­ing­ful pre­lude” to con­tain­ing Guam, which is home to key US mil­i­tary bases that North Korea finds threat­en­ing.

He said it is “nec­es­sary to pos­i­tively push for­ward the work for putting the strate­gic force on a mod­ern ba­sis by con­duct­ing more bal­lis­tic rocket launch­ing drills with the Pa­cific as a tar­get in the fu­ture”.

The launch seemed de­signed to show that North Korea can back up a threat to tar­get the US territory of Guam if it chooses to do so, while also es­tab­lish­ing a po­ten­tially dan­ger­ous prece­dent that could see fu­ture mis­siles fly­ing over Ja­pan.

South Korea said the mis­sile trav­elled 1,677 miles and reached a max­i­mum height of 341 miles as it flew over the north­ern Ja­panese is­land of Hokkaido.

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump said North Korea had sig­nalled its “con­tempt for its neigh­bours” and that “all op­tions are on the ta­ble” in terms of a US re­sponse.

He said that “threat­en­ing and desta­bil­is­ing ac­tions only in­crease the North Korean regime’s iso­la­tion in the re­gion and among all na­tions of the world”.

Any new test wor­ries Wash­ing­ton and its al­lies be­cause it pre­sum­ably puts North Korea a step closer to its goal of an ar­se­nal of nu­clear mis­siles that can re­li­ably tar­get the US.

Mr Trump also said that “talk­ing is not the an­swer” when it comes to North Korea.

He added that the United States has paid the North Kore­sula, ans what he calls “ex­tor­tion money” for 25 years.

The United Na­tions’ most pow­er­ful body re­it­er­ated de­mands for Py­ongyang to halt its bal­lis­tic mis­sile and nu­clear weapons pro­grammes af­ter an emer­gency meet­ing on the mis­sile test.

The Se­cu­rity Council is­sued a state­ment which did not dis­cuss any po­ten­tial new sanc­tions but calls for strict im­ple­men­ta­tion of ex­ist­ing ones.

“The Se­cu­rity Council, res­o­lute in its com­mit­ment to a de­nu­cle­arised Korean Penin- em­pha­sises the vi­tal im­por­tance of im­me­di­ate, con­crete ac­tions by the DPRK to re­duce ten­sions in the Korean Penin­sula and be­yond,” the council said, us­ing an acro­nym for the na­tion’s for­mal name, the Demo­cratic Peo­ple’s Repub­lic of Korea.

The council also said it was com­mit­ted to a peace­ful, diplo­matic and po­lit­i­cal so­lu­tion to the sit­u­a­tion.

North Korea has, in the past, tem­po­rar­ily halted nu­clear devel­op­ment when the US and oth­ers pro­vided food aid or other types of com­pen­sa­tion.

But the North has not been mak­ing such de­mands, at least pub­licly, since Mr Trump took of­fice.

Mr Trump’s tweet ap­pears at odds with his sec­re­tary of state. Rex Tiller­son has been soft­en­ing the con­di­tions for a pos­si­ble di­a­logue with North Korea.

North Korea has con­ducted launches at an un­usu­ally fast pace this year – 13 times, Seoul says – and some an­a­lysts be­lieve it could have vi­able long-range nu­clear mis­siles be­fore the end of Mr Trump’s first term in early 2021.

0 A bal­lis­tic rocket of the type which flew over Ja­pan this week

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