Obama Warned Trump Before He Left Office: North Korea is White House's Biggest Problem
07 March, 2017, 00:14
But Beijing is increasingly fed up with North Korea's antics and nuclear weapons program. The launches put China in a hard position once again.
Leader Kim Jong-Un is pushing for a nuclear and missile programme that can deter what he calls US and South Korean hostility towards the North.
A Pentagon spokesman, Navy Captain Jeff Davis, confirmed the USA had seen no ICBM launch attempt but otherwise gave no clear response to the missile launches.
South Korea's military said the missiles were unlikely to have been intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) which could reach the United States, but flew on average 1,000km and reached a height of 260km. She also said North Korea needed to immediately halt plans for more such missile launches.
Three of them fell into what Japan considers its exclusive economic zone (EEZ) - a 200-nautical mile area off Japan's coast - after flying an estimated 1,000km (620 miles). "We have strongly rebuked North Korea".
The halt infuriated Pyongyang and its state media carried unusual criticism of Beijing for "dancing to the tune of the U.S.". National Security Council chief Kim Kwan-jin also spoke with his USA counterpart H.R. McMaster on the phone to beef up cooperation in pressuring the North. Song Ji-sun, Arirang News.
The Security Council was expected to hold an emergency meeting to discuss the latest missile tests, possibly on Wednesday, diplomats said.
The launch was "a grave threat to our country's national security", the government's spokesman Yoshihide Suga told a news conference. "It was the timing that was important, not the scientific novelty", he said, adding that the tests came as Washington and Seoul were conducting annual joint military exercises.
Pyongyang fired a ballistic missile last month - said by the North to use solid fuel and to be capable of carrying a nuclear warhead - which Seoul said was aimed at testing the response from the new administration.
"These tests are sending a signal to the world and the the United States that they are prepared to defend themselves, that they're in a state of constant preparedness", said Petrov.
China said it opposed the launches and called for restraint from all sides, but also noted that the United States and South Korea are carrying out military drills which it said were against North Korea. The probe began after North Korea had two back-to-back failures in October, reports the International Business Times. "It is an extremely risky action", he said. On February 12 North Korea fired what appeared to be a modified intermediate-range Musudan missile, which landed in the ocean.
Jeffrey Lewis, director of the US-based East Asia Nonproliferation Program, told CNN the North Koreans' recent behavior was the sort "you see from a state that is planning to deploy nuclear weapons to its military units".
Last month, North Korea launched a ballistic missile toward the Sea of Japan, a move that South Korea's military described as a "show of force" to the Trump administration.
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