North Korea Missile Program Advancing Faster Than Expected, South's Defense Minister Says

Russian President Vladimir Putin, speaking in China, condemned North Korea's latest missile launch as "dangerous" but cautioned against "intimidating" the country.

That has led to a stalemate where the Obama administration and now the Trump administration have refused to talk, and the regime in Pyongyang has pressed ahead with its weapons programs.

The Security Council adopted two sanctions resolutions a year ago to ramp up pressure on Pyongyang and deny leader Kim Jong-Un the hard currency needed to fund his military programs.

"North Korea openly states that its ballistic missiles are meant to deliver nuclear weapons, to strike cities in the United States, the Republic of Korea, and Japan", he said.

The Council "vowed to fully implement all measures" imposed on the isolated island nation.

According to The Associated Press, North Korea chose a high angle for the launch to "avoid neighboring countries".

"This is the longest-range missile North Korea has ever tested [other than space launches]", Jeffrey Lewis, of the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in the United States said.

The Security Council is scheduled to hold closed-door consultations on the missile test on Tuesday.

An undated photo released 15 May 2017 by North Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) showing North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (C) viewing a missile, believed to be Hwasong-12.

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The missile flew 489 miles on a trajectory reaching an altitude of 1,312 miles, KCNA said.

Crackpot North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is believed to making a play for his country to co-host the 2030 World Cup by joining forces with South Korea, China and Japan.

North Korea has also launched satellites into orbit on long-range rockets that share some of the same technology as missiles. Trump has feted Xi in hope of securing more pressure on the North, which counts on China for up to 90 percent of its trade.

Han also said that the North's defense proliferation was advancing faster than originally expected.

State media paraphrased North Korea's leader as saying that "the most ideal weapon systems in the world will never become the eternal exclusive property of the US", warning that "the USA should not. disregard or misjudge the reality that its mainland and Pacific operation region are in (North Korea's) sighting range for strike". "If the USA dares opt for a military provocation against [us] we are ready to counter it".

In response to Sunday's launch, Moon strongly condemned North Korea, saying there still remains the possibility of a productive inter-Korean dialogue but that the South would deal rigorously with any such provocation.

In Seoul, some citizens expressed frustration. "The United States maintains our ironclad commitment to stand with our allies in the face of the serious threat posed by North Korea". In a February Lunar New Year greeting card, leader Kim Jong Un listed Russian Federation as the country most friendly toward North Korea.

The U.S. military said the flight was "not consistent" with an intercontinental ballistic missile, but it did not identify what type of missile it was.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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