Tuesday, July 4, 2017

N Korea Claims Successful ICBM Test, China Calls For Calm And Restraint While Stepping Up Air/Sea Patrols After U.S. Warship Sails Near Disputed Island

North Korean claim of successful ICBM test likely to raise alarm in Tokyo — and Anchorage

In a move expected to have far-reaching implications — including for Japan — North Korea proclaimed a successful launch of its first intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) Tuesday that it said “can strike any place in the world.”
North Korean state-run television said the missile, known as the Hwasong-14, reached an altitude of 2,800 km and hit a target after flying 933 km. It said the test had been overseen by leader Kim Jong Un.
State-run TV said the launch — which came as Americans prepared to mark Independence Day in the U.S. — was of “a very powerful ICBM that can strike any place in the world” and was “a major breakthrough in the history of our country.”
The numbers reported by state media were in line with projections by Japan’s Defense Ministry, which said the missile, launched from North Korea’s west coast, flew for about 40 minutes.
The launch, which occurred at around 9:39 a.m., was conducted on a steep “lofted” trajectory, according to a high-ranking Japanese official.
The U.S. Pacific Command said in a statement ahead of the announcement that it had detected and tracked the launch of what it called an “intermediate range ballistic missile” near Panghyon Airfield in North Pyongan Province, near the border with China.

“North Korea again dared to launch a ballistic missile, ignoring repeated warnings from the international community,” Abe told reporters at the Prime Minister’s Office.

“The missile launch this time has clearly shown that the (North Korean) threat has further increased,” Abe said.

Together with the U.S. and South Korea, he said Japan would join the international community in piling even more pressure on the North.
“I will also ask (Chinese) President Xi Jinping and (Russian) President (Vladimir) Putin to respond in a more constructive way,” he added.

  • The 'landmark' test of a Hwasong-14 missile was overseen by leader Kim Jong-Un
  • It was fired from a site in the  North Phyongan province into the Sea of Japan
  • It is believed to have reached an altitude of 1741 miles and flew 580 miles
  • The North has long sought to build nuclear missiles capable of reaching the US
  • Weapons analysts say the missile has the capability to reach as far as Alaska 

North Korea on Tuesday said it had successfully tested an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), prompting US experts to say the device could reach Alaska.  
The launch, which came as the United States prepared to mark its Independence Day, triggered a Twitter outburst from President Donald Trump who urged China to 'put a heavy move' on North Korea to 'end this nonsense once and for all'.
The North has long sought to build a rocket capable of delivering an atomic warhead to the continental United States - something that Trump has vowed 'won't happen', and launch marks a new phase in the country's decades-long weapons program.
In an announcement of the missile test, North Korean officials called the launch, which leader Kim Jong-un supervised, a 'glistening miracle'.  
David Wright, of the Union of Concerned Scientists, wrote on the organisation's allthingsnuclear blog that the available figures implied the missile 'could reach a maximum range of roughly 6,700 km on a standard trajectory'.
'That range would not be enough to reach the lower 48 states or the large islands of Hawaii, but would allow it to reach all of Alaska.' 
The 'landmark' test of a Hwasong-14 missile was overseen by Kim, an emotional female announcer said on state Korean Central Television.
It reached an altitude of 1741 miles (2,802 kilometres) and flew 580 miles (933 kilometres) for 39 minutes, she added.
'The test-fire was conducted at the highest angle and did not have any negative impact on the safety of neighboring countries,' announcer Ri Chun-Hee, who previously told her loyal viewers of the deaths of the country's founder Kim Il-Sung and his son Kim Jong-Il, said. 
'As the dignified nuclear power who possesses the strongest intercontinental ballistic rocket which is capable of hitting any part of the world along with the nuclear weapons, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) will fundamentally terminate the US nuclear war threats and blackmail and credibly protect the peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula and the region,' she added.

China called on Tuesday for calm and restraint after North Korea launched a ballistic missile and US President Donald Trump said perhaps China would "put a heavy move" on North Korea to "end this nonsense." 

Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said U.N. Security Council resolutions had clear rules on North Korea's missile launches and China opposed it going against those rules. He was speaking at a daily news briefing.

North Korea said it had successfully test-launched an intercontinental ballistic missile on a steep trajectory. An expert said, if fired at a conventional trajectory, the missile could possibly hit the US state of Alaska.

China’s military vowed Monday to step up air and sea patrols after an American warship sailed near a disputed island in the South China Sea in what Beijing called a “serious political and military provocation.”
The spat is the latest in a series of disputes that have roiled the U.S.-China relationship in just the past few days. Experts said Washington appeared to be signaling its growing frustration with Beijing by rolling out measures including arms sales to Taiwan and sanctions against a Chinese bank doing business with North Korea.
On Sunday, the USS Stethem, a guided-missile destroyer, sailed within 12 nautical miles of Triton Island, a U.S. defense official said. The small   isle in the Paracel Islands chain is claimed and controlled by China. It was the second such U.S. operation near Chinese-controlled islands in six weeks.
U.S. officials tried to portray the latest patrol as a routine, planned maneuver, but whatever their intentions, it has created more friction between the two countries. China’s Defense Ministry said its armed forces had dispatched two frigates, a minesweeper and two fighter jets to warn the Stethem away.

Trump hosted Chinese President Xi Jinping at his Mar-a-Lago resort in April and said the men enjoyed “great chemistry.” That marked a reversal from his tone during the presidential campaign, in which he had assailed China for what he called its unfair trade and currency practices. But in recent weeks, the White House has become frustrated with China over its reluctance to tighten the screws on North Korea in retaliation for its nuclear and missile program. China is North Korea’s biggest trading partner
“No more relying on the bromance between Donald and Jinping,” Evan Medeiros, who served as President Barack Obama’s top adviser for Asia, said in an interview. “The honeymoon is clearly over, but the next phase is less clear.”

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