Putin condemns North Korea missile test

by Garry Watts May 28, 2017, 2:09
Putin condemns North Korea missile test

The UN Security Council has strongly condemned North Korea's latest ballistic missile test and vowed strong measures, including sanctions, to derail Pyongyang's nuclear weapons programme.

That is a slap in the face for South Korea's new president, Moon Jae-in, who has promised greater engagement with the North, and suggests that the missile launch was an attempt to improve Pyongyang's negotiating position with a more hardline US under President Donald Trump.

The statement called for "far stronger sanctions" against North Korea and said the USA was watching the situation closely with South Korea and Japan.

The US Pacific Command, based in Hawaii, confirmed the rocket launch but said the unidentified projectile did not appear to be large enough to be an intercontinental ballistic missile, saying only that the launch did not pose a threat to North America.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said today that North Korea's latest missile test was "dangerous", but he warned that Pyongyang was being intimidated and called for a peaceful solution to regional tensions.

"It is considered an IRBM (intermediate range ballistic missile) of enhanced caliber compared to Musudan missiles that have continually failed", he said, referring to a class of missile created to travel up to 1,860 to 2,485 miles.

Within North Korea's existing operational arsenal are the Hwasong-5 and 6, Rodong, and Musudan missiles.

There are, however, doubts whether North Korea can miniaturise a nuclear weapon sufficiently to fit it into a missile nose cone, and there is no evidence Pyongyang has mastered the technology needed to ensure the missile survives returning into Earth's atmosphere.

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Putin said he was briefed by his defense minister after North Korea's latest missile test. Pyongyang has since threatened a sixth.

He said Sunday's launch - the seventh such firing by North Korea this year - may have been of a new mobile, two-stage liquid-fueled missile North Korea displayed in a huge April 15 military parade. The adoption of the statement comes on the eve of an emergency, closed-door meeting of the Security Council scheduled for Tuesday.

KCNA said the test "proved to the full" the missile's capabilities, including guidance and stabilisation systems, its engine performance in flight, and "the homing feature of the warhead under the worst re-entry situation and accurate performance of detonation system".

"At present the South Korean people are hungry for a new politics, a new society and a new way of life", the official said, regarding the election of Moon, but added change with the North would only come about if Seoul complies with past joint declarations with North Korea.

Nikki Haley, the USA ambassador to the United Nations, told ABC's "This Week" that "having a missile test is not the way to sit down with the president, because he's absolutely not going to do it".

The initial assessment by US intelligence is that the missile launched by North Korea was a KN-17, a medium range ballistic missile, according to two USA officials.

The KCNA report said that, as ever, the test had been overseen by the North's Supreme Leader, Kim Jong-un.


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