North Korea Launches Missile Closer to Russia than Japan

Kim Jong Un
File photo: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un

By The Maritime Executive 2017-05-15 10:34:21

North Korea fired a ballistic missile on Sunday that flew for 430 miles (700 kilometers) into the Sea of Japan and reached an altitude of over 1,245 miles (2,000 kilometers).

The missile launched is believed to be a new type, and it flew further and higher than an intermediate-range missile the nation tested in February. The U.S. Pacific Command said it was assessing the missile which was not consistent with an intercontinental ballistic missile.

Reuters reports Kim Dong-yub, of Kyungnam University's Institute of Far Eastern Studies in Seoul, saying the missile could have a range of 3,700 miles (6,000 kilometers) – making it capable of reaching Hawaii.

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

In Washington, the White House said Trump "cannot imagine Russia is pleased" with the test as the missile landed closer to Russia than to Japan. Trump has called North Korea a “flagrant menace” and urged for “far stronger sanctions.”

However, Russia’s Ministry of Defense has said that the flight path of the missile was a considerable distance from Russian territory and posed no threat to Russia.

North Korea's state media Rodong reported on Saturday that the nation will bolster its nuclear capability unless the U.S. abandons its hostile policy. “The United States should never expect us to give up our nuclear capability,” it said, claiming Trump's "maximum pressure and engagement" policy is only aimed at "stifling us" and will compel the North to "strengthen our nuclear deterrent at the maximum speed."

U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, accused North Korean leader Kim Jong-un of being in a "state of paranoia." The U.S. would continue to "tighten the screws" on North Korea, she Haley.

The aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson is currently in exercises with South Korean navy ships in waters off the Korean Peninsula. Last month, North Korea said it was ready to attack a U.S. aircraft carrier to demonstrate its military might, likening the USS Carl Vinson to a "gross animal."

The launch comes just days after South Korea's new President Moon Jae-in pledged to engage it in dialogue.

China, North Korea's only major ally, has called for restraint in the wake of the test.