23 February 2019
A ballistic rocket is seen launching during a drill by the Hwasong artillery units of the KPA Strategic Force. Photo: Reuters
A ballistic rocket is seen launching during a drill by the Hwasong artillery units of the KPA Strategic Force. Photo: Reuters

South Korea fires at suspected drone near border with North

South Korea’s military fired warning shots at a suspected drone from North Korea on Tuesday amid tensions over Pyongyang’s latest missile test which drew international condemnation and a warning from China, Reuters reports.

The identity of the object remained unclear, the military said, but Yonhap news agency said it was possibly a drone. More than 90 shots were fired in return and it disappeared from radar screens.

The incursion came with tensions already high on the Korean peninsula after the North’s test-launch of a ballistic missile on Sunday which Pyongyang said proved advances in its pursuit of building a nuclear-tipped weapon that can hit US targets.

The United States has been trying to persuade China, North Korea’s lone major ally, to do more to rein in North Korea, which has conducted dozens of missile launches and tested two nuclear bombs since the start of last year, in defiance of UN Security Council sanctions and resolutions.

The North has made no secret of its plans to develop a missile capable of striking the United States and has ignored calls to halt its weapons programs, even from China. It says the program is necessary to counter US aggression.

“We urge North Korea to not do anything to again violate UN Security Council resolutions,” Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said in a statement posted on the Foreign Ministry’s website on Tuesday.

“At the same time, we hope all parties can maintain restraint, not be influenced by every single incident … persist in carrying out Security Council resolutions on North Korea and persevere with the resolution of the issue through peaceful means, dialogue and consultation.”

Wang was responding to reporters’ questions on Monday while in Ivory Coast, according to the statement.

The North’s official KCNA news agency, citing the spokesman for the foreign ministry, said the country had “substantially displayed” the capabilities for mounting a nuclear attack on Hawaii and Alaska and had built full capabilities for attacking the US mainland.

US and South Korean officials and experts believe the North is several years away from having such a capability.

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