South Korea: North Fires Missile Into Sea Off East Coast

South Korean fans cheer on North Korea against Australia during the International Ice Hockey Federation Women's World Championship Division II Group A at Gangneung Hockey Centre in Gangneung Gangwon Province
South Korean women arrive in North Korea for football match
Author

08 April, 2017

Tensions in the Asia-Pacific region have been heightened since President Donald Trump said he would take a tougher stance on Pyongyang than his predecessor, former President Barack Obama, and a series of military exercises held last month between the USA and South Korea not far from North Korean territory.

A U.S. statement said initial assessments indicate the type of missile was a KN-15 medium-range ballistic missile. The Japanese chief cabinet secretary said that Tokyo will not tolerate "Pyongyang's provocative actions". The missile launch may be a precursor, with more to come as the summit starts later this week, Cossa said.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson confirmed Pyongyang had launched "yet another" intermediate range ballistic missile. Wednesday's missile appeared to be a KN-15, or Pukkuksong-2, a land-based version of the submarine-launched ballistic missile.

Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop condemned the latest missile launch calling it a "clear breach" of North Korea's "international obligations". North Koreans cheer as their country's women's soccer team competes against South Korea in a qualifying soccer match for the Asian Football Confederation Cup at the Kim Il Sung Stadium on Friday, April 7, 2017, in Pyongyang, No.

Trump wants China to do more to exert its economic influence over unpredictable Pyongyang to restrain its nuclear and missile programs. But Beijing says its leverage over North Korea is limited.

Earlier, North Korea had warned the global community that it will retaliate if they put sanctions over its latest round of weapons tests. It uses solid fuel already loaded inside the missile, which would shorten launch preparation times, boost the weapon's mobility and make it harder for outsiders to detect the signs of its liftoff.

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The firing was also made as North Korea expressed anger over annual military drills between the United States and South Korea that the North sees as an invasion rehearsal.

Last August Pyongyang also successfully test-fired a submarine-launched ballistic missile 500 kilometres towards Japan, far exceeding any previous sub-launched tests, in what the North's leader Kim Jong-Un hailed as the "greatest success".

South Korea has banned spectators from carrying flags to support North Korean athletes at an ongoing test events program for the Pyeongchang 2018 Olympic Games, organizers confirmed to NK News on Wednesday: a decision seemingly counter to worldwide sporting norms.

In June past year, the South successfully test-fired two home-developed missiles capable of carrying a one-tonne payload up to 500 kilometres.

Yang Moo-jin, a professor at Seoul's University of North Korean Studies, said the South's indifference was a wasted opportunity to use sports as a diplomatic tool, even just to resume basic communications.

A nuclear-capable SLBM system would take the North's threat to a new level, allowing deployment far beyond the Korean peninsula and a "second-strike" capability in the event of an attack on its army bases.


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