North Korea Fires Ballistic Missile into Sea of Japan in New Rocket Test

A handout photo made available by the official North Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) allegedly shows the North Korean inter-continental ballistic rocket Hwasong-14 being launched at an undisclosed location in North Korea, 04 July 2017. Photo: KCNA/EPA/REX/Shutterstock

  • North Korea has carried out a new ballistic missile, its 12th since January.
  • Test has been found to be successful, missile traveled some 800-900 km before falling in the Sea of Japan.
  • Missile may have landed in Japan’s exclusive economic zone.
  • Test launch comes just two days before the start of the G-20 meeting in Hamburg, Germany.

The regime of North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un has fired another ballistic missile into the Sea of Japan in its 12th rocket test (and ninth successful) since US President Donald Trump assumed office in January.

Last week, a US nuclear expert warned that Kim Jong-un might be coming closer to being able to produce a hydrogen bomb, also known as thermonuclear weapon, as it is able to produce tritium, a key element.

North Korea recently carried out a new test of a rocket engine that could be used for powering an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), the weapon that can threaten directly the US mainland.

On behalf of the Kim Jong-un regime, North Korea’s Ambassador to India recently offered the US a conditional moratorium on his country’s nuclear and ballistic missile tests.

The offer came against the backdrop of the death of US college student Otto Warmbier who passed away after 17 months in North Korean captivity, and for which Pyongyang denied responsibility, and of South Korea’s decision to suspend the further deployment of the US THAAD missile shield.

In an earlier ballistic missile provocation, in early June, North Korea fired several anti-ship cruise missiles.

The regime of Kim Jong-un has alleged that it had been a successful test of a precision-guided system as it was known to be in pursuit of developing an “aircraft carrier killer”, i.e. an anti-ship ballistic missile.

Ongoing activity and a large number of people have been spotted at North Korea’s nuclear test site, the Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Facility, amid lingering concerns that the regime of leader Kim Jong-un could carry out its sixth nuclear test.

There have been reports that North Korea has been bracing for a preemptive US missile strike similar to the missile strike on the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in response to the April 4 attack with chemical weapons.

In early June, the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) imposed new sanctions on North Korea and entities trading with it over its ongoing development of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and continued violations of UN Security Council resolutions.

12th Missile Test

North Korea launched another ballistic missile, supposedly the Hwasong-14, on Tuesday, just a few days after the leaders of the United States and South Korea, Donald Trump and Moon Jae-in, agreed to leave the door open for dialogue with the communist nation, South Korean news agency Yonhap reported.

“North Korea fired an unidentified ballistic missile into the East Sea (Sea of Japan) from the vicinity of Banghyon, North Pyongan Province, at around 9:40 a.m.,” South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said.

It added that the North Korean provocation was immediately reported to President Moon Jae-in, who ordered the National Security Council to convene an emergency session.

Army Col. Roh Jae-cheon, a spokesman for the JCS, told reporters that the missile traveled “several hundred kilometers,” which means the firing was successful.

“But South Korea and the US are analyzing the apogee of the missile and its exact flight distance,” he added.

“Our military is maintaining full preparedness against the possibility of North Korea’s additional provocation,” Roh added.

A South Korean government source said the missile is estimated to have flown 800-900 km.

Japanese media reported that the missile may have landed in Japan’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in the Sea of Japan.

In talks with Moon in Washington, D.C., last week, US President Donald Trump expressed support for the South Korean president’s push for improving inter-Korean relations.

The latest launch comes just two days before the start of the G-20 meeting in Hamburg, Germany, where South Korean President Moon is scheduled to hold a trilateral meeting with Trump and Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

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