South Korea and Japan condemn North Korea 'missile launch'

It was on Sunday, May 21, when North Korea fired the most recent missile, which was a ballistic missile with mid-range.

The official Korean Central News Agency confirmed Monday the missile was a Pukguksong-2, a medium-to-long range ballistic missile also launched in February.

"Viewing the images of the Earth being sent real-time from the camera mounted on the ballistic missile, Supreme leader Kim Jong-un said it feels grand to look at the Earth from the rocket we launched and the entire world looks so handsome", it added.

South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff says the rocket was sacked Sunday from an area near the North Korean county of Pukchang and flew eastward about 500 kilometers, or 310 miles. It landed in waters off North Korea's east coast.

South Korea and the USA earlier described Sunday's missile as medium-range.

The reclusive state has been working to develop a nuclear-tipped missile capable of striking the US mainland and on Saturday said it had developed the capability, although Western missile experts say the claim is exaggerated.

The launch comes a week after the North successfully tested a new midrange missile that experts say may one day be capable of reaching Alaska or Hawaii. That makes then easier to spot and easier to destroy than the solid-fuel variety.

The North Korean army launched the missile in an easterly direction from a site near Pukchang at 4:59 pm local time, Efe quoted the North Korea Joint Chiefs of Staff as saying.

Experts said this hinted at efforts to create solid-fuel ICBMs and also technologies to "cold launch" such rockets, ejecting them from the launch tubes before they ignite in midair, which would prevent its limited number of ICBM-capable launcher trucks from being damaged and also allow the missile to be fired from silos.

"North Korea's repeated provocative action went against our government and worldwide community's expectations and desire to establish peace and denuclearisation on the Korean peninsula", said Foreign Ministry spokesman, Cho June-Hyuck. Analysts said that test showed gave North Korea critical information on developing a re-entry vehicle for nuclear warheads and showed Pyongyang had a missile capable of striking the U.S. territory of Guam.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson earlier Sunday said the latest test was "disappointing" and "disturbing".

The council diplomats say the closed discussion was requested by the United States, Japan and South Korea and will take place Tuesday.

The launch verified the reliability and accuracy of the solid-fuel engine's operation and stage separation and the late-stage guidance of the nuclear warhead.

North Korea on Friday blamed United States foreign policy for the long-standing political crisis on the Korean peninsula.

If it did happen, the U.S. President would have about 10 minutes to decide whether or not to launch a retaliatory attack.

  • Zachary Reyes