North Korea defies UN and fires missile in latest weapons test

a man passes a TV news screen in Seoul showing an image of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Picture: AP
a man passes a TV news screen in Seoul showing an image of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Picture: AP
Have your say

North Korea fired another medium-range missile yesterday in its latest ballistics test.

The rocket was fired from an area near the North Korean county of Pukchang, in South Phyongan Province, and flew eastward about 310 miles, said South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The US Pacific Command said it tracked the missile before it landed in the sea.

White House officials travelling in Saudi Arabia with President Donald Trump said the system, which was last tested in February, has a shorter range than the missiles launched in North Korea’s most recent tests.

An official from South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said the missile appeared to be similar to a midrange solid-fuel missile that North Korea fired in February.

The missile fired yesterday reached a maximum altitude of 47 miles, said the official.

In February, North Korea used a launcher truck to fire a solid-fuel missile that it calls the Pukguksong (Polaris)-2, a land-based version of a submarine-launched missile the country revealed earlier.

That missile travelled about 310 miles before crashing into the sea.

The February launch, the North’s first missile test after Mr Trump took office, alarmed neighbours because solid-fuel missiles can be fired more quickly than liquid-fuel missiles, which need to be fuelled before launch and require a larger number of vehicles, including fuel trucks, that could be spotted by satellites.

South Korea’s new president, Moon Jae-in, held a National Security Council meeting to discuss yesterday’s launch, which came hours after he named his new foreign minister nominee and top advisers for security and foreign policy. He did not make a public statement after the meeting.

In Tokyo, Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe called the launch a “challenge to the world” that tramples international efforts to resolve the North Korean nuclear and missile problems peacefully, and vowed to bring up the issue at this week’s G7 summit.

The launch came a week after North Korea successfully tested a new midrange missile that it said could carry a heavy nuclear warhead.

Experts said that rocket flew higher than any missile previously tested by North Korea, and that it could one day reach targets as far away as Hawaii and Alaska. Under dictator Kim Jong Un, North Korea has been pursuing a decades-long goal of putting a nuclear warhead on a ballistic missile capable of reaching the US.