North Korea fires Scud-class ballistic missile, Japan protests

Nick Mcbride
May 29, 2017

North Korea has fired a short-range ballistic missile on Monday morning that landed in the ocean, the United States military said.

"The launch was immediately reported to President Moon Jae-in, who called a meeting of the National Security Council at 7:30 a.m. (2230 GMT Sunday), the South Korean office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement", according to Reuters.

President Trump has repeatedly vowed to end Pyongyang's nuclear and ballistic missile programs, warning last month that if diplomacy fails, a "major, major conflict" with North Korea is possible.

The North's nuclear and missile programs are perhaps the biggest foreign policy challenges to the new leaders in Washington and Seoul.

The missile landed inside Japan's Exclusive Economic Zone, in the Sea of Japan.

Pyongyang announced earlier this month that it had successfully tested the Pukguksong-2 intermediate range ballistic missile after a projectile was detected landing in worldwide waters off Japan's east coast. The agency added that North Korea fired a suspected Scud-type ballistic missile that flew about 450 kilometers (280 miles). The U.S. Pacific Command said it tracked what appeared to be a short-range ballistic missile for six minutes and assessed it did not pose a threat to North America.

Analysts said that test gave North Korea critical information on developing a re-entry vehicle for nuclear warheads and showed Pyongyang had a missile capable of striking the U.S. territory of Guam.

The North has conducted dozens of missile tests in recent years, raising alarm about its emerging technical capability.

Defense Secretary James Mattis, during an appearance on CBS' "Face the Nation" Sunday, said war with North Korea would be "catastrophic".

Short range SCUD missiles are not a concern to US officials, given that they are based on a Soviet-era technology that is decades old. But the launch followed a report from the North that said leader Kim Jong Un had watched a successful test of a new type of anti-aircraft guided weapon system.

The official Korean Central News Agency cited Kim as ordering officials to mass-produce and deploy the system all over the country so as to "completely spoil the enemy's wild dream to command the air".

"In order to deter North Korea, we will take concrete action together with the U.S.", he said.

Other reports by VgToday

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