North Korea's New ICBM Test 'Successful': Defense Ministry
(Source: The Korea Times; issued Nov 30, 2017)
South Korea's defense ministry on Friday characterized North Korea's projectile, fired earlier this week, as a new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that can fly more than 13,000 kilometers.
In a report to the National Assembly, the ministry said the North is believed to have conducted a successful missile test on Wednesday.
The Hwasong-15 missile, launched from a site just north of Pyongyang, reportedly traveled 950 kilometers at a maximum altitude of 4,475 km to splash into the East Sea.
"It's assessed that the flight test was successful," the ministry said. "In the case it were fired at a normal angle, it would be capable of flying over 13,000 km. That means it can reach Washington, D.C."
The ministry added, however, that additional verification is needed on atmospheric reentry, final-phase precision guidance technologies and warhead conditions before concluding whether it is a reliable long-range missile.
It described the Hwasong-15 as a new ICBM with an appearance and features quite different from the previous model, the Hwasong-14.
It is two meters longer and 0.4-0.8 meter wider in diameter, the ministry said, apparently basing these measurements on analysis of photos released by the North a day earlier.
The new missile's transporter erector launcher (TEL) has nine wheels on each side, which compares to the Hwasong-14's 16-wheel TEL.
The first stage of the Hwasong-15 used a cluster of two Hwasong-14 engines, and analysis of the second-stage engine is under way, added the ministry.
"The body size of the second stage has increased three or four times in comparison with the Hwasong-14," it said.
Meanwhile, South Korea had a working-level video conference with the United States and Japan to discuss the North's latest provocation.
In the defense consultations, a routine session held after the North's missile or nuclear experiments, the three parties condemned it in "the strongest language" and urged Pyongyang to abide by international obligations, according to the ministry.
They also agreed to keep cooperating in efforts to apply "maximum pressure" on the North so as to change its course, it said.
South Korea was represented by Yeo Suk-joo, policy office chief at the defense ministry. His American and Japanese counterparts were David Helvey, acting assistant secretary of defense for Asian and Pacific security affairs, and Masami Oka, deputy director general of the Japanese defense ministry's policy bureau.
DPRK Missile Sparks Global Reaction
(Source: China Daily; issued Dec 01, 2017)
Denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula, maintaining the international nuclear-non-proliferation regime and preserving peace and stability in Northeast Asia are China's unswerving goal, Chinese President Xi Jinping told US President Donald Trump in a phone conversation on Wednesday.
Xi said China would like to keep up communications with the US and all other related parties, and jointly push the nuclear issue toward the direction of peaceful settlement via dialogues and negotiations.
The phone call came hours after the Democratic People's Republic of Korea announced it had successfully test-fired a newly developed "Hwasong-15" Intercontinental Ballistic Missile, which is capable of striking the entire US mainland.
The Washington Post reported the event on Wednesday on its front page with the headline "North Korea's latest missile launch appears to put US capital in range".
Trump, in a tweet posted on Wednesday, said he had just spoken to President Xi "concerning the provocative actions of North Korea. Additional major sanctions will be imposed on North Korea today. This situation will be handled!"
It was not immediately clear what the additional sanctions are.
"President Trump emphasized the need for China to use all available levers to convince North Korea to end its provocations and return to the path of denuclearization," the White House said in a readout of the phone call.
On Wednesday, Beijing expressed "grave concern and opposition" to Pyongyang's latest missile test and called for talks to peacefully resolve the nuclear crisis on the peninsula.
"The United Nations Security Council resolutions are explicit about Pyongyang's use of ballistic missile technologies, and China strongly urged Pyongyang to stop activities that increase tensions on the peninsula," Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said.
Geng also said that the "suspension for suspension" initiative proposed by China is the most feasible and reasonable approach to ease the current situation.
Russia's Foreign Ministry also urged the DPRK to stop the nuclear missile tests, and asked the US and South Korea to stop military exercises to be held at the beginning of December, which will only inflame an already explosive situation.
Raj Shah, principal deputy press secretary at the White House, said on Wednesday, "We're looking forward to applying as much pressure as we can to get to our ultimate goal, which is a denuclearized Korean Peninsula."
US State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert also said the goal for the ongoing maximum pressure campaign is to use economic and political pressure to persuade Pyongyang to reconsider the path it is on and think about engaging in a meaningful dialogue about a different future.
Pyongyang said, "The development and advancement of the strategic weapon of DPRK are to defend the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country from the US imperialists' nuclear blackmail policy and nuclear threat, and to ensure the peaceful life of the people."
"It is DPRK's solemn declaration that the missiles would not pose any threat to any country and region as long as the interests of the DPRK are not infringed upon," said a statement released by the official Korean Central News Agency.
Speaking at an emergency UN Security Council meeting on Wednesday afternoon at UN headquarters, Wu Haitao, China's deputy permanent representative to the UN, said China has consistently advocated dialogue and negotiations as the means to achieve a settlement and to oppose conflict and chaos on the peninsula.
For now, the top priority is for all the parties concern to keep restraint, implement comprehensively and strictly relevant Security Council resolutions and strive for an early resumption of dialogue and negotiations, Wu said.
US ambassador Nikki Haley said, "We have never sought war with North Korea, and still today we do not seek it. If war does come, it will be because of continued acts of aggression like we witnessed yesterday."
On Wednesday, United Nations political affairs chief Jeffrey Feltman met with DPRK's Ambassador Ja Song Nam to tell him Pyongyang must "desist from taking any further destabilizing steps", according to a Reuters report.
Lisa Collins, a fellow with the Korea Chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, analyzed the pattern of the DPRK's missile testing and suggested on Wednesday, "The space for dialogue may therefore be limited to the next three months when we can expect fewer provocations from North Korea."