Sunday, 18 February, 2018

North Korea close to long-range missile capability: French minister

Moon Convenes NSC Meeting after Tremor North Korea close to long-range missile capability: French minister
Christy Curtis | 04 September, 2017, 06:34

Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel called for a peaceful solution to mounting tensions between the US and North Korea, which continues to develop nuclear and ballistic weapons in defiance of United Nations sanctions. The projectile travelled 2,700 km, just short of the distance it needs to reach the US territory of Guam. It added that the US and South Korea "agree on using sanctions and pressures to have North Korea come to the table for talks".

Wishful thinking. This past Tuesday, North Korea launched a missile that flew over the Japanese island of Hokkaido.

North Korea said it fired the intermediate-range ballistic missile Tuesday over Japan to counter current joint exercises by South Korea and the United States.

Japan has pressed the U.S. to propose a fresh round of sanctions against North Korea over its nuclear missile programme.

Pyongyang's provocative decision this week to launch a missile over Japan was created to make the point. At the time it provoked consternation and condemnation, but there were several repetitions in the following months.

August 29: North Korea fired a missile that traveled over Japan and landed in the Pacific Ocean. Each of the missiles exploded or traveled only a short distance.

"But they won't go far enough to have an impact on North Korea's determination to become a nuclear power", the diplomat said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

With tensions surging, Moscow urged Washington not to use force against North Korea and also said attempts to toughen sanctions would be counterproductive.

Options range from limited surgical strikes on nuclear targets to a pre-emptive "decapitation" attack to take out Kim and other senior leaders.

What he didn't need to say is that the overflight was also a reminder of Japan's vulnerability should the Korean crisis escalate into a full-scale shooting war.

In 2006, Pyongyang conducts its first nuclear test.

It passed out photos of a gleeful Kim Jong Un and beaming military officials. China, North Korea's chief sponsor and trading partner, is unwilling to do anything that might bring down the regime in Pyongyang.

North Korea set a goal early this year of increasing its oil reserves to 1 million tons in anticipation of additional worldwide sanctions, a Japanese newspaper reported Saturday, citing a Pyongyang source.

But that would leave the North with capabilities seen as unacceptable by Washington, which says the proposal would reward bad behaviour.

After the latest launch, Trump tweeted: "The US has been talking to North Korea, and paying them extortion money, for 25 years". "Talking is not the answer!".

As a presidential candidate, Donald Trump was open to negotiations "There's a 10 percent or a 20 percent chance that I can talk him out of those damn nukes", he said last June.

"We will continue developing ballistic missile defense technologies to stay ahead of the threat as it evolves", said Lieutenant General Sam Greaves, director of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency.

Overflights Of the Korean Peninsula by heavy bombers such as the B1-B have incensed Pyongyang The North views the joint exercises as a rehearsal for invasion or the targeting of its leadership, routinely lambasting them as "nuclear bomb-dropping drills".

"The US and Japan have mobilised all their intelligence assets for 24-hour surveillance on us but failed to detect the launch time and place of our ballistic missiles", it added.

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