NKorea's new provocation
Pyongyang fires an intercontinental ballistic missile in demonstration of non-compliance
1 December, 2017
North Korea said it successfully tested a new intercontinental ballistic missile on 29 November in a “breakthrough” that puts the US mainland within range of its nuclear weapons, and increases pressure on US President Donald Trump to deal with Pyongyang. Citing South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, Yonhap reported that a missile was launched “eastward from the vicinity of Pyongsong, South Pyongan Province, at dawn.” The government says it reached an altitude of about 4,475km - more than 10 times the height of the International Space Station.
In the latest update issued by the Pentagon, the missile was an ICBM launched from the Sain Ni base in North Korea. The missile reportedly travelled about 600 miles before crashing into the Sea of Japan. Despite the long range of the missile, Pentagon stated that it did not pose an immediate threat to the US or its territories or allies.
The new firing of the ballistic missile comes after a two and a half month hiatus sporadically interrupted by engine and fuel tests. It is also the first of the many provocations expected from North Korea after it was reenlisted as a state sponsor of terrorism by US President Donald Trump.
Pyongyang’s latest ballistic missile test was on 15 September, when it fired a second missile over Japan in just two months. The missile landed in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Japan, in what experts have described as “unprecedented flight distance.” The long-range missile has a sufficient enough range to reach the US military bases in Guam.
Before last Wednesday test, Pyongyang had fired 22 missiles across 15 tests conducted since February 2017. None of the 22 missiles carried active warheads. CNN reports that US officials have confirmed they have intelligence on North Korea’s missile tests and that they are convinced it is continuing to develop its missiles, rocket fuel and engines, as well as targeting and guidance systems. High-ranking military officials also stated that Pyongyang might be able to put miniaturized warheads on their missiles as early as 2018. With the latest ICBM Pyongyang tested, reaching all the way to the Pacific ocean east of Japan, North Korea could develop ICBMs with nuclear warheads capable of reaching the US.
CNN also reported another unidentified US official saying that North Korea is currently testing a more advanced version of its intercontinental ICBM, which could have a much further range than the missiles it tested earlier in July.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has accused the US of seeking to provoke North Korea into stepping up its nuclear missile programme. He rejected a call by the American envoy to the UN Security Council to sever ties with the North after its latest ballistic missile test. Russia argues sanctions do not work and advocates negotiations instead. The US has warned that North Korea's government will be "utterly destroyed" if war breaks out. President Donald Trump asked his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, to cut off oil supplies to the North.