North Korea claims its new long-range missile can carry heavy nuke

Xavier Trudeau
Mai 18, 2017

A reliable missile must endure at least 10 successful test launches, according to Professor Chae Yeon-seok at South Korea's University of Science & Technology.

The country's official Korean Central News Agency said the missile fired Sunday, May 14, 2017, was a Hwasong-12 "capable of carrying a large-size heavy nuclear warhead".

The statement comes a day after North Korea tested a ballistic missile that it claimed could be mounted with a "large-sized nuclear warhead" and capable of reaching the continental United States and US operations in the Pacific.

This is largely consistent with South Korean and Japanese assessments that it flew further and higher than an intermediate-range missile (IRBM) tested in February.

The missile flew 787 kilometres on a trajectory reaching an altitude of 2,111.5 kilometres, the North's KCNA news agency said.

North Korea, which is threatening a sixth nuclear test, made a global appeal in a letter released on Friday for states to reconsider enforcing United Nations sanctions.

US President Donald Trump's administration has called for an immediate halt to Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programmes and has warned that the "era of strategic patience" with North Korea under previous presidents was at an end. But according to USA officials, missile launches like this one are a deal-breaker for any hypothetical dialogue.

The test follows weeks of escalating pressure in the region as U.S. president Donald Trump warned a "major conflict" could break out with North Korea as he admitted solving the issue diplomatically could prove "very difficult". The Security Council has adopted six increasingly tougher sanctions resolutions against North Korea.

The statement came after North Korea test-fired a ballistic missile early Sunday, prompting Seoul's new leader, Moon Jae-in, to convene an emergency security meeting. "South Korea and Japan have been watching this situation closely with us", Spicer continued. It quoted Kim as saying his country has "the most flawless weapon systems in the world", which he's ready to use to target the US if attacked.

North Korean leader Kim declared in a speech on New Year's Day that his country's program to build inter-continental ballistic missiles had "reached its final stage".

Schilling said the ability to hit Guam, 3,400 kilometres away, was not a game-changer, but that the new missile could be a step along the way.

Some experts, including officials in Tokyo, said Sunday's launch successfully tested a new type of missile, potentially the longest-range in North Korea's arsenal.

But President Trump also said he'd be honored to meet Kim Jong Un under the right circumstances.

"With the missile impacting so close to Russian soil - in fact, closer to Russia than to Japan - the president can not imagine that Russia is pleased", read the statement.

"The Secretary-General condemns the launch of another ballistic missile by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK)".

"We consider that nuclear and missile tests are unacceptable", Putin said. "This missile launch posed no threat to the Russian Federation".

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