North Korea launches new missile, sparking anger across region | News | DW | 14.05.2017
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North Korea

North Korea launches new missile, sparking anger across region

South Korea's newly-elected president has convened an emergency security meeting in response to the missile launch. US Pacific Command said data suggests it was not an intercontinental ballistic missile.

North Korea on Sunday fired a projectile that appeared to be a ballistic missile, marking the first of its kind since the election of South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

Moon convened an emergency National Security Council meeting in response to the launch, according to a statement from the presidency. After the meeting, the president condemned the launch as a "serious challenge" to international peace and security.

South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said Pyongyang had fired an "unidentified projectile" from Kusong, northwest of the North Korean capital, without further elaborating on the situation.

Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said the projectile traveled roughly 800 kilometers (500 miles) and landed in the Sea of Japan, outside the country's exclusive economic zone. It marks the fifth consecutive attempt by North Korea to test-launch ballistic missiles in the past two months.

US Pacific Command said it had detected the missile launch, but noted the data was not consistent with the launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile.

'Grave threat'

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters that Pyongyang's decision to fire a ballistic missile violated several UN resolutions that ban the communist nation from developing such weapons technology.

"North Korea's repeated missile launches are a grave threat to our country and a clear violation of UN resolutions," Abe said.

Pyongyang has attempted to develop intercontinental ballistic missiles that could reach the US mainland.

Analysts believe that while Pyongyang has yet to reach its goal, the country has made progress on its ballistic missiles program.

Conditional diplomacy

Tensions have risen on the Korean Peninsula after US President Donald Trump's administration deployed a naval attack group to the region last month in response to threats from Pyongyang.

Trump later said he would be "honored" to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un "under the right circumstances."

Pyongyang has also made overtures for discussions with Washington, stipulating that it would be open to talks "under the right conditions."

However, the installation of the missile defense system THAAD has prompted concerns from North Korea and its key regional ally, China. The defense system went operational earlier this month, according to US authorities.

ls/cmk (AFP, AP, Reuters, dpa)

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