STRATEGIC BALANCE: Putin says world needs to talk to North Korea not threaten it –
SEOUL: 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.
North Korea, which regularly threatens to destroy the United States in a sea of flames, has accused Washington of pushing the Korean peninsula to the brink of nuclear war with recent military drills with South Korea and Japan.
The North’s KCNA news agency said Sunday’s test launch verified the homing feature of the warhead that allowed it to survive “under the worst re-entry situation” and accurately detonate. It also tested the North’s capability to carry a “large-size heavy nuclear warhead”, KCNA said.
“The test-fire proved to the full all the technical specifications of the rocket… like guidance and stabilisation systems… and reconfirmed the reliability of new rocket engine under the practical flight circumstances,” KCNA said.
The test “represents a level of performance never before seen from a North Korean missile”, John Schilling, an aerospace expert, said in an analysis on the US-based 38 North website.
“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.”
The missile flew 787 km on a trajectory reaching an altitude of 2,111.5 km, KCNA said.
North Korea has been developing a long-range missile capable of striking the mainland United States mounted with a nuclear warhead.
That would require a flight of 8,000 km or more and technology to ensure a warhead’s stable re-entry into the atmosphere.
US President Donald Trump warned that a “major, major conflict” with North Korea was possible.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said in Beijing that Moscow was opposed to any new countries acquiring nuclear weapons, but that the world should talk to North Korea rather than threaten it.
Putin said nuclear tests of the type that Pyongyang had been carrying out in recent weeks were unacceptable, but that a peaceful solution to rising tensions on the Korean peninsula was needed. “I want to confirm that we are categorically against the expansion of the club of nuclear powers, including with the Korean Peninsula and North Korea,” said Putin, who said any such move would be “harmful and dangerous”.
Putin did not specify what countries he had in mind, but he has in the past criticised the US for military operations in Iraq, Libya and Syria, and accused it of trying to oust legitimate governments. — Reuters