North Korea: New long-range missile can carry heavy nuke

Posted May 22, 2017

"The test-firing of ICBMs will occur at any time and place, at the will of North Korea's highest leadership", North Korea's ambassador to China, Ji Jae Ryong, told reporters in Beijing on Monday, a day before the UN Security Council meets in NY to discuss the test.

The country's official Korean Central News Agency says the missile fired Sunday Korea time was a Hwasong-12 "capable of carrying a large-size heavy nuclear warhead".

The regime of President Kim Jong-un successfully test-fired a medium-range ballistic missile on Sunday that the United States military said landed about 60 miles off Russia's east coast.

USA officials had yet to react to the North's claim, but Japan said, regardless, the new test showed "some progress" in the isolated country's missile programme and was thus further evidence that "we have entered a new level of threat regarding North Korea". But Tong Zhao, an analyst with the Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy, said Sunday's test may give Pyongyang "a regional nuclear deterrence" option, meaning it might no longer need to pursue a weapon to reach as far as the USA mainland.

Aerospace expert John Schilling told Reuters the test "represents a level of performance never before seen from a North Korean missile".

Spokesman Moon Sang Gyun said it is still unlikely that North Korea has re-entry technology, which would return a warhead safely back into the atmosphere. "Having a missile test is not the way to sit down with the president, because he's absolutely not going to do it", she told ABC.

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"The North Korean rocket followed a trajectory away from Russian Federation and at a significant distance", the ministry said in a statement released on Monda y. The US said it terminated flight just 96 kilometers (60 miles) from the Russian port city of Vladivostock, whereas the Russian Defense Ministry said it landed 500 kilometers (311 miles) from its Pacific coast line.

(AP Photo/Lee Jin-man). People watch a TV news program showing an image of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, published in the country's Rodong Sinmun newspaper, at Seoul Railway station in Seoul, South Korea, Monday, May 15, 2017.

Putin reiterated Moscow's stance that it will not tolerate a nuclear-armed North Korea, saying it would be counterproductive, harmful and risky.

"It appears to have not only demonstrated an intermediate-range ballistic missile that might enable them to reliably strike the US base at Guam, but more importantly, may represent a substantial advance to developing an intercontinental ballistic missile".

That suggests a range of 4,500 kilometres (2,800 miles) or more if flown for maximum distance, analysts said.

North Korea said on Monday it had successfully conducted a mid- to-long-range missile test and would continue such launches "any time, any place", defying UN Security Council resolutions and warnings from the United States.

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Could North Korea launch a nuclear missile?

"South Korea and Japan have been watching this situation closely with us", Spicer continued.

"North Korea has been a flagrant menace for far too long".

British U.N. Ambassador Matthew Rycroft also called the test a threat to global peace and security and said "the United Kingdom favors tougher sanctions".

The White House condemned the attack and made an unusually speculative statement, saying that "the President can not imagine that Russian Federation is pleased". "This missile launch posed no threat to the Russian Federation".

There's also a political victory for North Korea.

"The greatest responsibility for bringing North Korea to its senses. lies with China", Turnbull says.

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It is hard to say when the North will have a reliably tested ICBM ready to deploy, said Lee Choon-geun, a senior research fellow at South Korea's state-run Science and Technology Policy Institute.