Fears global nuclear war with North Korea IMMINENT after shock warning
NUCLEAR war sparked by collapsing relations with North Korea could be imminent after a shock warning conflict is now 'inevitable'.
North Korea conducted another ballistic missile test Tuesday morning, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff has said. The projectile, described by the South as an “unidentified ballistic missile,” was launched towards the Sea of Japan.
“North Korea fired an unidentified ballistic missile into the East Sea from the vicinity of Banghyon, North Pyongan Province, at around 9:40am,” the Joint Chiefs of Staff said.
Tuesday’s launch is the latest in a series of missile technology tests North Korea has carried out this year. This missile traveled 577 miles (930 km).
Last month, North Korea tested four anti-ship missiles off its east coast. On May 14, Pyongyang conducted a ballistic missile test which flew for some 30 minutes covering a distance of 700 km. In April, the country conducted at least three other tests of its indigenous ballistic technology, all in violation of UN sanctions.
The regime appears to have timed the launch for maximum political effect, giving the order to fire on the eve of the July 4 holiday, just days after US President Donald Trump spoke with Japanese and Chinese leaders about the North Korea threat and before this week’s G20 meeting.
The fear is that North Korea may one day develop the technology to mount a miniature nuclear warhead on a long-range missile, something analysts say it may have already achieved.
How true is claim?
Euan Graham, director of the International Security Program at Sydney’s Lowy Institute, said that one apparently successful test didn’t necessarily mean that North Korea had the global capability it claimed.
“If the North Koreans are claiming they can launch an ICBM (to) anywhere in the world that needs to be looked at through a technical lens,” he said, using the acronym for intercontinental ballistic missile.
“One successful test doesn’t get them over the bar, they’re claiming more than they can deliver at the moment.”
Most successful test yet
The missile, referred to as Hwasong-14 on state TV, flew into waters east of the Korean Peninsula and may have landed in Japan’s Exclusive Economic Zone, which extends 200 nautical miles from its coastline, according to a Japanese defense official.
The US Pacific Command said it tracked the missile for 37 minutes and described it as a “land-based, intermediate range ballistic missile.” Japan reported that its flight time was 40 minutes.
It was launched from Panghyon, in North Pyongan province and traveled more than 930 kilometers (578 miles) according to South Korea’s military — further than a May 14 missile launch that analysts described as its most successful test ever. That launch reached a then-record altitude of around 2,100 kilometers (1,300 miles).
Bruce Bennett, Senior International/Defense Researcher at RAND Corporation, said North Korea had aimed high to limit the distance traveled and avoid a major international incident.
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“You can’t hardly fire a missile from North Korea that’s got a thousand-kilometer range without it going into somebody’s exclusive economic zone. The bottom line is, they’ve flown it very high so that they can test the range of the missile. If they were to shoot it on a normal trajectory, it’s probably going to go out 6,000 or so kilometers. By definition, anything over 5,500 kilometers is an ICBM,” he said.
Trump responds to launch
It’s North Korea’s 11th missile test this year and comes amid increasing frustration from Trump about the lack of progress in curbing Pyongyang’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs.
Soon after the launch, but before North Korea announced its unprecedented height, the US President responded on Twitter.
“North Korea has just launched another missile. Does this guy have anything better to do with his life?” he asked, referring to Kim.
“Hard to believe that South Korea and Japan will put up with this much longer. Perhaps China will put a heavy move on North Korea and end this nonsense once and for all!”
Melissa Hanham, a senior research associate at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, said the ICBM test puts the US in a difficult negotiating position.
“I think there’s room for negotiation, but it’s not the kind of negotiations we want,” she said.
The US can now only work toward limiting, not eliminating the North Korean missile threat to the US mainland, she added.
Australia, Japan condemn tests ahead of G20 meeting
Australia condemned the "provocative ballistic tests", which Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said were in breach of numerous United Nations Security Council resolutions.
"North Korea continues to threaten its neighbours while undermining regional and global security," Ms Bishop said in a statement.
"North Korea's long-term interests would be best served by ceasing its nuclear and missiles programs and focusing on improving the lives of its long suffering people."
China called for calm and restraint after the North's announcement, reiterating its opposition to ballistic missile testing.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said UN Security Council resolutions had clear rules on North Korea's missile launches and China opposed it going against those rules.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe also condemned North Korea's actions, saying he would work alongside world leaders to increase pressure on the regime.
"Japan will work to increase international pressure on North Korea by uniting strongly with the US and South Korea," Mr Abe said.
"I'm also planning to call on the Chinese President, Xi Jinping, and the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, to play a more constructive role."
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Asian powers condemn action
China, North Korea’s northern neighbor and one of the only countries in the region with diplomatic ties to Pyongyang, urged restraint after the launch.
“The situation on the Korean Peninsula is sensitive and complex,” said Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Geng Shuang. “We hope all relevant parties will exercise restraint and avoid taking actions that may escalate tensions.”
China’s President Xi Jinping is in Moscow to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin — neither has commented on the launch.
South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in warned North Korea not to cross the “bridge of no return” and called on China to play a stronger role in resolving the situation.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the launch “ignores repeated warnings from the international community,” and shows the threat had “further increased.”
‘Out of control’?
Trump has repeatedly urged China to bring its influence to bear on the issue. He recently tweeted that Chinese efforts on North Korea, while appreciated, had “not worked out.”
On Monday Liu Jieyi, China’s ambassador to the UN, warned of the risk of escalating tensions on the peninsula.
“Certainly we would like to see a deescalation of tension,” he said in remarks to the press as China assumed the United Nations Security Council presidency for July.
“Certainly if tension goes up and goes up only then sooner or later it will get out of control and the consequences will be disastrous,” Liu said.