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North Korea says missile tests simulated nuclear strike on South

North Korea said Wednesday its latest ballistic missile tests trialled detonation devices for possible nuclear strikes on US targets in South Korea and were personally monitored by supreme leader Kim Jong-Un.

Tuesday’s test firing of three missiles in violation of existing UN resolutions was seen as an angry reaction to the planned deployment of a US missile defence system in the South.

The launch of the two Scud missiles and one intermediate-range Rodong was condemned by the United States, Japan and South Korea, who vowed a collective diplomatic response.

The tests were ordered and monitored by Kim Jong-Un and the range of the missiles was limited to simulate pre-emptive attacks on South Korean ports and airfields hosting US military “hardware”, the North’s official KCNA news agency said.

The tests “examined the operational features of the detonating devices of nuclear warheads mounted on the ballistic rockets at the designated altitude over the target area,” it said.

According to the South Korean military, the two Scuds flew between 500 and 600 kilometres (310-370 miles) into the Sea of Japan, while the Rodong was fired about an hour later.

A photo from the test, published on the front page of the North Korean ruling party’s Rodong Sinmun newspaper, showed Kim sitting at a desk covered by a large map of the Korean peninsula.

The map was clearly marked with a possible missile flight path from the North to South’s southern coast, around the major ports of Ulsan and Busan.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday said the tests were “deeply troubling” and undermined efforts to reduce tension on the Korean peninsula.

UN resolutions prohibit North Korea from developing ballistic missile technology.

Pyongyang has repeatedly warned of pre-emptive nuclear strikes against the South and US targets there and elsewhere, although the main focus of its nuclear weapons program is to develop a credible strike threat against the US mainland.

A series of missile tests this year aimed at backing up that threat led to the recent agreement between Seoul and Washington to deploy the sophisticated US Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system, or THAAD, in South Korea.

Last week, Pyongyang responded to the announcement by threatening to take “physical action”.

There are nearly 30,00 US troops permanently stationed in South Korea.

North Korea-US tensions had already been stoked by Pyongyang’s fury at Washington’s decision to personally target leader Kim with sanctions related to human rights abuses.

The North test-fired a submarine-launched ballistic missile on July 9, following back-to-back tests of a powerful new medium-range missile on June 22.

Those two missiles achieved a significant increase in flight distance over previous failed launches and were believed to be of a much-hyped, intermediate-range “Musudan” — theoretically capable of reaching US bases as far away as Guam.

Since carrying out a fourth nuclear test in January, which prompted a significant tightening of UN sanctions, North Korea has claimed a series of technical breakthroughs for its weapons program.

It said it had miniaturized a nuclear warhead to fit on a missile and successfully tested an engine designed for an inter-continental ballistic missile that could reach the US mainland.

While some experts say the claims are exaggerated, most acknowledge that the North’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs have made significant strides.

In a separate dispatch on Wednesday, KCNA quoted a spokesman for the Korean People’s Army (KPA) unit based in the border truce village of Panmunjom calling for all US troops to leave the South immediately.

“The KPA already solemnly declared that the US imperialist aggression forces in South Korea are its first strike target,” the spokesman said.

“The US should go back home, abandoning its wicked intention for a permanent stay in South Korea,” he added.

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News story: Alok Sharma statement on North Korea missile testing

News story

Alok Sharma statement on North Korea missile testing

From: Foreign & Commonwealth Office and Alok Sharma MP12 First published: 19 July 2016 Part of: North Korea3

FCO Minister for Asia Alok Sharma expresses concern following reports of more ballistic missile lauches by North Korea

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Minister for Asia, Alok Sharma, said:

Reports of yet more ballistic missile launches by North Korea are deeply concerning.

Missile launches of this kind demonstrates that North Korea continues to be a major threat to regional security as it develops its ballistic missile programme in defiance of multiple UN Security Council Resolutions.

The UK strongly condemns these actions and we call on North Korea to comply with UN Security Council resolutions and stop all provocations.

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Published: 19 July 2016
From: Foreign & Commonwealth Office6 Alok Sharma MP7 Part of: North Korea8

References

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  2. ^ Alok Sharma MP (www.gov.uk)
  3. ^ North Korea (www.gov.uk)
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North Korea test-fires three ballistic missiles

North Korea test-fired three ballistic missiles on Tuesday, in further defiance of the international community and in apparent reaction to the planned deployment of a US defence system in the South.

The launches drew swift condemnation from the United States and Japan, who vowed a coordinated response to Pyongyang’s repeated violations of UN sanctions that bar it from weapons tests.

They come as North Korea’s isolation deepens after it said this month it was severing all diplomatic channels with the US.

Two SCUD missiles flew between 500 and 600 kilometres (310-370 miles) into the Sea of Japan, while a third, believed to be Rodong intermediate range ballistic missile, was fired about an hour later.

The trajectory of the Rodong missile was still being analysed, spokesman Jeon Ha-Kyu of Seoul’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said.

The SCUD missiles’ range is such that they could strike anywhere within South Korea, the military said, adding that the latest tests were presumed to be linked to the North’s recent threats.

Pyongyang last week said it would take “physical action” after Washington and Seoul announced the deployment of a sophisticated US anti-missile defence system.

The announcement of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system, or THAAD, was prompted by a series of missile launches this year that analysts say demonstrate that the North is making progress toward being able to strike the US mainland.

Another military source that the SCUD missiles would likely be Pyongyang’s weapon of choice if it were to target places like Seongju, where the THAAD system will be deployed.

“We strongly condemn this and North Korea’s other recent missile tests, which violate UN Security Council Resolutions explicitly prohibiting North Korea’s launches using ballistic missile technology,” Pentagon spokesman Gary Ross said.

“We intend to raise our concerns at the UN to bolster international resolve in holding the DPRK (North Korea) accountable for these provocative actions,” Ross said.

Japanese Defence Minister Gen Nakatani said the latest launches “compromise peace and safety of the region, including Japan”.

“The Japanese government will strengthen cooperation with related countries, namely the United States and South Korea, and strongly urges North Korea to exercise self-restraint, while preparing for any contingencies,” he said.

Repeated tests
The North test-fired a submarine-launched ballistic missile on July 9, following back-to-back tests of a powerful new medium-range missile on June 22.

Those two missiles achieved a significant increase in flight distance over previous failed launches and were believed to be of a much-hyped, intermediate-range Musudan missile — theoretically capable of reaching US bases as far away as Guam, the South’s defence ministry said in June.

The North previously launched relatively short-ranged SCUDs in March, as it flexed its muscles in response to joint US-South Korea military drills just south of the border.

A US think-tank last week warned there was intense activity at a North Korean nuclear test site.

The US-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University said images from July 7 of the Punggye-ri site show what appear to be supplies or equipment stacked near the spot where the North conducted its fourth nuclear test in January.

The institute cautioned that it was not possible to determine whether this was maintenance or possible preparations for a fifth nuclear test.

“Nevertheless, it is clear that North Korea is ensuring that the facility is in a state of readiness that would allow the conduct of future nuclear tests should the order come from Pyongyang,” it added.

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