Korea says leader Kim supervised test of new anti-ship missiles

Diplomats at the United Nations denounced as a provocation today's cruise missile launches by North Korea, though no immediate meeting has been planned for the Security Council.

Based on the length and shape of the launch tubes, they are presumed to be remodeled land-based versions of anti-ship cruise missiles unveiled in February 2015.

It marked the fifth missile test-fire by the North since liberal South Korean President Moon Jae-in took office May 10. "We are aware, certainly, of the situation and the suspension of additional launchers", Nauert said. However, North Korea says its weapons programs are necessary to counter, what it describes as growing signs of US aggression.

The move was immediately condemned by South Korea's president, who warned North Korea that the only thing the country has to gain from unauthorized launches is "isolation and economic difficulties".

European Union sanctions against North Korea date back to 2006 and are part of worldwide efforts to halt a nuclear and ballistic missile programme which experts say is meant to give Pyongyang the capability to hit the United States mainland.

Moon had also promised to review the deployment of the THAAD system in South Korea, a decision that was made by the government of his conservative predecessor, Park Geun-hye.

The Global Times, published by China's official People's Daily, said in an editorial that no matter the outcome of the environmental study, South Korea's announcement could reduce friction. Seoul and Washington are now analysing the data.

Trump has called on China to use its relationship as North Korea's chief ally to exert pressure on Kim to rein in his nuclear ambitions. Just days earlier, the U.S. Navy had been conducting exercises with Japan Maritime Self-Defense Forces in the same body of water.

"North Korea likely wanted to show off its ability to precisely target a large warship, in relation to the joint military drills involving USA aircraft carriers", Roh Jae-cheon, South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff spokesman, told a media briefing.

Conventional wisdom holds that it will be years before North Korea can credibly threaten the United States with a nuclear attack.

  • Leroy Wright