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UN Security Council threatens DPRK with new sanctions for missile tests

19 May 2017, 10:47 | Taylor George

North Korea says new rocket can carry nuclear warhead

N. Korea test-fires missile, challenging new leader in South

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Monday 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.

In a unanimous statement backed by China, the council yesterday stressed the importance of North Korea immediately showing honest commitment to denuclearization through concrete action.

The UN Security Council first imposed sanctions on North Korea in 2006 and has strengthened the measures in response to its five nuclear tests and two long-range rocket launches.

A UN Security Council meeting has now been called by the US, South Korea and Japan for tomorrow (May 16) to discuss North Korea's actions, said diplomats.

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.

Kim Jong-Un was on hand and "hugged" his rocket scientists after what North Korean media hailed as the successful test of a "medium long-range" ballistic missile that is capable of carrying a heavy nuclear warhead.

While Trump has said he'd be "honored" to talk with leader Kim under favorable conditions, Haley seemed to rule out the possibility. 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 United States mainland.

It flew high and long, the pride of leader Kim Jong Un, who was pictured with it and applauding its launch, according to North Korea.

In line with previous statements, the text said the council will monitor the situation and is poised to take "further significant measures, including sanctions", if deemed necessary.

It's boasting that this rocket can carry a large and heavy nuclear warhead.

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The launch is a test for South Korea's new president, Moon Jae-in, with barely a week on the job.

That quote comes from John Schilling, an expert at the website 38 North, which is affiliated with John Hopkins University and offers analysis of North Korea.

Han Min-koo told South Korea's parliament the test-launch had been detected by the controversial U.S. THAAD anti-missile system, whose deployment in the South has infuriated China.

The North is under United Nations sanctions for its nuclear and missile programmes, which have triggered global alarm. The aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson, which was ordered to the region last month, is still in the Sea of Japan, where the missile landed Sunday. It could have a range of 4,500 kilometers (about 2,800 miles), putting the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam easily within range.

Han said the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile unit deployed by the USA military in the South detected the North Korean missile, marking the first time the controversial system has been put to use since its deployment last month.

Ju Yong Choi said US' criticism of it was a "wanton violation of the sovereignty and dignity of the DPRK [Democratic People's Republic of Korea]". That suggests a range of 4500km or more, analysts said. "What we're going to do is continue to tighten the screws".

The North has made no secret of its quest to develop a missile capable of delivering a nuclear warhead to the continental United States - something President Donald Trump has vowed "won't happen".

For its part, the US Treasury explained that it is considering all of its available tools to deny North Korea access to the global financial system to rein in its nuclear weapons and missile development programs.

There are doubts whether Pyongyang can miniaturise a nuclear weapon sufficiently to fit it onto a missile nose cone, and no proof it has mastered the re-entry technology needed to ensure it survives returning into Earth's atmosphere.



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