North Korea confirms details of missile launch

Elizabeth Williams
May 22, 2017

North Korea fired a ballistic missile into waters off its east coast yesterday, its second missile test in a week, which South Korea said dashed the hopes of the South's new liberal government for peace between the neighbours.

Missile tests such as Sunday's present a hard challenge to Moon, a liberal who took over as South Korea's president on May 10 and has expressed a desire to reach out to the North. Pyongyang's aggressive push to improve its weapons program also makes it one of the most urgent foreign policy concerns for the Trump administration.

The test of a Pukguksong-2 might be part of attempts to stabilize the system before operationally deploying the missiles, said Kim Dong-yub, an analyst at Seoul's Institute for Far Eastern Studies.

South Korea says North Korea has fired an unidentified projectile from an area near its capital, Pyongyang, in what could be the latest weapons test for a country speeding up its nuclear weapons and missile development.

Kim "approved the deployment of this weapon system for action".

The UN Security Council will hold an emergency meeting on Tuesday in response to the latest ballistic missile test.

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says he'll bring up the issue of Pyongyang's missile tests at the next G7 Summit.

The use of solid fuel presents great advantages for weapons because the fuel is more stable and can be transported easily in the missile's tank allowing for a launch on very short notice.

Solid fuel-powered missiles need much less infrastructure, making them hard for those monitoring North Korea's military movements to spot, as there are fewer indicators, such as movement of trucks, for South Korean or United States satellites and other surveillance to pick up on.

South Korea and the US earlier described Sunday's missile as medium-range.

A man passes by a TV news program showing a file image of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, Sunday, May 21, 2017.

Some experts believe it will be 2030 or later for the North to develop the technology. The North last conducted a ballistic missile test a week ago.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un ordered the launch and watched from an observation post, state media reported Monday.

South Korea hosts 28,500 US troops to counter the threat from the North, a legacy of the 1950-53 Korean War.

It also had several pictures of the Earth said to have been taken from the rocket from space - the first such pictures released by the North.

Pyongyang's often-stated goal is to flawless a nuclear warhead that it can put on a missile capable of hitting Washington or other USA cities.

The missile went about 300 miles. North Korea called that launch a success test of a missile that could carry a heavy nuclear warhead. "We will fully implement our own sanctions against North Korea".

China, North Korea's longtime ally, has called on both Pyongyang and Washington to make concessions to ease tensions.

On Monday, the South's Unification Ministry spokesman Lee Duk-haeng said while Seoul will respond firmly to any provocations by the North, "it would not be desirable to have ties between the South and the North severed".

Other reports by VgToday

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