Date
19 November 2017
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, shown in this undated photo release inspecting a military detachment, has said the country's nuclear program is necessary to counter US aggression. Photo: KCNA/Reuters
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, shown in this undated photo release inspecting a military detachment, has said the country's nuclear program is necessary to counter US aggression. Photo: KCNA/Reuters

North Korea fires Scud-class ballistic missile, Japan protests

North Korea fired what appeared to be a short-range ballistic missile on Monday that landed in the sea off its east coast, South Korea’s military said, the latest in a series of missile tests defying world pressure and threats of more sanctions.

The launch was immediately reported to South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who called a meeting of the National Security Council at 7:30 a.m. (6.30 a.m. Monday in Hong Kong), Reuters reports, citing a statement from South Korea’s Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The missile was believed to be a Scud-class ballistic missile and flew about 450 kilometers (280 miles), the Joint Chiefs said in the statement.

North Korea has a large stockpile of Scud missiles, originally developed by the Soviet Union. Modified versions have a range of up to 1,000 km (620 miles).

North Korea last test-fired a ballistic missile on May 21 off its east coast and on Sunday said it had tested a new anti-aircraft weapon supervised by leader Kim Jong-un.

Pyongyang has conducted dozens of missile tests and tested two nuclear bombs since the start of 2016, in defiance of UN Security Council resolutions. It says the program is necessary to counter US aggression.

The United States has said it was looking at discussing with China a new UN Security Council resolution and that Beijing, the main diplomatic ally of Pyongyang, realizes time was limited to rein in the North’s weapons program through negotiations.

Experts say the North appears to be gaining meaningful data that is fed into its effort to build an intercontinental ballistic missile.

The White House said President Donald Trump had been briefed on the launch. The US 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.

Japan lodged a protest against the North’s latest missile launch which appeared to have landed in Japan’s exclusive economic zone, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said.

“This ballistic missile launch by North Korea is highly problematic from the perspective of the safety of shipping and air traffic and is a clear violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions,” Suga told reporters in televised remarks.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe vowed action along with other nations to deter Pyongyang’s repeated provocations.

“As we agreed at the recent G7, the issue of North Korea is a top priority for the international community,” Abe told reporters in brief televised remarks. “Working with the United States, we will take specific action to deter North Korea.”

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CG

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