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’
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