BREAKING: North Korea carries out new ballistic missile test

Image copyrightGETTY IMAGESImage captionNorth Korea paraded its military hardware in Pyongyang last month

by Coco Jiang and Biodun Iginla, BBC News, Pyongyang. Coco Jiang is working undercover in Pyongyang.

North Korea has fired a ballistic missile from a region near its west coast.

The missile was launched near Kusong, north-west of the capital, Pyongyang, and flew 700km (430 miles), it said.

North Korea has carried out a series of missile tests this year, causing international condemnation and increasing tensions with the US.

Two missile launches last month both failed, with the rockets exploding just minutes into flight.

South Korea and Japan both condemned the latest launch. The South’s new President Moon Jae-in convened an emergency meeting of his security council to discuss the issue, Yonhap news agency reported.

Japan said the missile flew for about 30 minutes before landing in the Sea of Japan.

The US Pacific Command said in a statement that the type of missile was being assessed but that its flight was not consistent with that of an intercontinental ballistic missile [ICBM], which would have the range to reach the US mainland.

North Korea is believed to be developing two types of ICBM, but neither has so far been flight tested.

CUBAN ECHOES, BY THE BBC’S KOREA CORRESPONDENT STEPHEN EVANS

Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES

The North Korean situation has been likened to the Cuban missile crisis in slow motion.

In October 1962, aerial pictures showed that the Soviet Union was building a missile base on Cuba, just off the coast of Florida.

President Kennedy said he would not accept that. It was what would now be called a “red line”. In the face of a credible threat of war, the Soviet leader Khrushchev backed down.

It is not clear where Mr Trump’s red line is or whether he could enforce it short of a truly devastating war, possibly with China drawn in.

He has said that North Korean missiles capable of hitting the US mainland “won’t happen”. Recently, he has mentioned talking to Kim Jong-un but also warned that North Korea risks a “major, major conflict”.

There is also a new president in Seoul keen on dialogue. As the missile tests continue, it is not clear when or if Washington would decide on military action — or whether Seoul would try to block it.

The North has conducted five nuclear tests despite UN sanctions and is also developing long-range missiles.

It is reported to be continuing efforts to miniaturise nuclear warheads and fit them on missiles capable of reaching the US.

Washington has accused other UN Security Council members of not fully enforcing existing sanctions against the North, and has urged China in particular to use its trade links as influence.

But despite poor relations, North Korea recently said it would hold talks with the US “if the conditions were right”.

The comments, by a senior North Korean diplomat, came after US President Donald Trump said he would be “honoured” to meet the North’s leader, Kim Jong-un.

The latest launch comes days after President Moon was sworn in.

In his first speech as president he vowed to address relations with the North, also saying that he would be willing to visit Pyongyang under the right circumstances.

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Posted by Biodun Iginla at 5:44 PM

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Labels: bbc news, Coco Jiang and Biodun Iginla, donald trump, intercontinental ballistic missile [ICBM], Kim Jong-un, Kusong, Moon Jae-in, new ballistic missile test,north korea, South Korea and Japan

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