North Korea claims new cruise missile can crush US, South Korean warships

North Korea, which could have a working nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missile in the next few years, may also be the most urgent foreign policy concern for the Trump administration, which has been distracted by domestic political turmoil and has insisted China do more to rein in the North's weapons activities.

Unlike its practice with ballistic-missile tests, which are banned under worldwide law, the USA did not publicly comment on this launch. The official added that the South Korean government had assured the USA that it would not revert from its previous commitments regarding the missile defense system, and that the United States had given South Korea the same assurances.

A decision to postpone the full deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system pending a review of its environment impact was a domestic measure to ensure a democratic process, Chung Eui-yong told a news briefing.

Britain's United Nations ambassador Matthew Rycroft condemned North Korea's "latest provocations" and said "we look forward to working with our council colleagues about the best way to respond to them". The news agency said that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un witnessed the launches and that the missiles "accurately detected and hit" floating targets at sea.

The missiles are part of the fourth new missile system North Korea claims they have introduced and tested this year.

On Monday, North Korea rejected a Seoul civic right group's offer to provide anti-malaria supplies.

GETTYSouth Korean news broadcasts footage of the latest North Korean missile launch
GETTYSouth Korean news broadcasts footage of the latest North Korean missile launch

"We assess that North Korea meant to show off its various missile capabilities, display its precise targeting capability, in the form of armed protests against ships in regard to US Navy carrier strike groups and joint naval drills", a South Korean military spokesman explained. Moon's government also said it will let two of the four North Korean fishermen rescued at sea resettle in the South as per their wishes. We are committed to our South Korean ally.

"Our government, as I have already clarified multiple times, will not back off at all or compromise regarding national security and people's safety", Moon said.

On Tuesday, Sputnik reported the withdrawal of USA aircraft carriers from the Sea of Japan - in North Korea's front yard.

But despite the rudimentary technology used in the launch, North Korea did show that it poses a real threat.

But North Korea, with its incessant nuclear provocations and almost weekly missile tests, functions as a giant bull's-eye for the United States, though any military confrontation would run a high risk of going nuclear and killing hundreds of thousands, if not more.

Nike Ching at the State Department contributed to this article.

  • Joanne Flowers