North Korea tests another ICBM, claims
all of U.S. in strike range
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[July 29, 2017]
By Jack Kim and Idrees Ali
SEOUL/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - North Korea
said on Saturday it had conducted another successful test of an
intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that proved its ability to
strike America's mainland, drawing a sharp warning from U.S. President
Donald Trump and a rebuke from China.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un personally supervised the midnight
launch of the missile on Friday night and said it was a "stern warning"
for the United States that it would not be safe from destruction if it
tries to attack, the North's official KCNA news agency said.
North Korea's state television broadcast pictures of the launch, showing
the missile lifting off in a fiery blast in darkness and Kim cheering
with military aides.
"The test-fire reconfirmed the reliability of the ICBM system,
demonstrated the capability of making a surprise launch of the ICBM in
any region and place any time, and clearly proved that the whole U.S.
mainland is in the firing range of the DPRK missiles, (Kim) said with
pride," KCNA said.
DPRK is short for the North's official name, the Democratic People's
Republic of Korea.
The launch comes less than a month after the North conducted its first
ICBM test in defiance of years of efforts led by the United States,
South Korea and Japan to rein in Pyongyang's nuclear weapons ambitions.
The North conducted its fourth and fifth nuclear tests last year and has
engaged in an unprecedented pace of missile development that experts
said significantly advanced its ability to launch longer-range ballistic
"By threatening the world, these weapons and tests further isolate North
Korea, weaken its economy, and deprive its people," Trump said in a
statement. "The United States will take all necessary steps to ensure
the security of the American homeland and protect our allies in the
China, the North's main ally, said it opposed North Korea's "launch
activities that run counter to Security Council resolutions and the
common wishes of the international community."
A foreign ministry statement added: "At the same time, China hopes all
parties act with caution, to prevent tensions from continuing to
escalate, to jointly protect regional peace and stability."
Early on Saturday, the United States and South Korea conducted a
live-fire ballistic missile exercise in a display of firepower in
response to the missile launch, the U.S. and South Korean militaries
The Trump administration has said that all options are on the table to
deal with North Korea. However it has also made clear that diplomacy and
sanctions are its preferred course.
The foreign ministers of South Korea, Japan and the United States held
separate phone calls and agreed to step up strategic deterrence against
the North and push for a stronger U.N. Security Council sanctions
resolution, the South and Japan said.
South Korea has also said it will proceed with the deployment of four
additional units of the U.S. THAAD anti-missile defense system that
President Moon Jae-in has earlier delayed for an environmental
Moon, who has pledged to engage the North in dialogue but was snubbed by
Pyongyang recently over his proposal to hold cross-border military
talks, said Seoul will also seek to expand its missile capabilities.
China's Foreign Ministry expressed serious concern about the announced
move on THAAD, saying it will only make things more complex. Beijing
opposes the missile defense system because its power radars can look
deep into China.
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Intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) Hwasong-14 is pictured
during its second test-fire in this undated picture provided by KCNA
in Pyongyang on July 29, 2017. KCNA via Reuters
"We strongly urge South Korea and the United States to face squarely
China's concerns about its interests, stop the relevant deployment
process and withdraw the related equipment," the foreign ministry
said in a statement.
The missile test came a day after the U.S. Senate approved a package
of sanctions on North Korea, Russia and Iran. Trump is ready to sign
the bill, the White House said on Friday.
The sanctions are likely to include measures aimed at Chinese
financial institutions that do business with North Korea. Washington
has also proposed a new round of U.N. sanctions on North Korea
following its July 4 ICBM test.
"RELIABLE ICBM BY YEAR-END"
In Friday's test, North Korea's Hwasong-14 missile, named after the
Korean word for Mars, reached an altitude of 3,724.9 km and flew 998
km for 47 minutes and 12 seconds before landing in the waters off
the Korean peninsula's east coast, KCNA said.
Western experts said the flight was an improvement on North Korea's
first test of an ICBM.
The flight demonstrated successful stage separation, reliability of
the vehicle's control and guidance to allow the warhead to make an
atmospheric re-entry under conditions harsher than under a normal
long-range trajectory, KCNA said.
The trajectory was in line with the estimates given by the South
Korean, U.S. and Japanese militaries, which said the missile was
believed to be an ICBM-class rocket.
Independent weapons experts said the launch demonstrated many parts
of the United States were within range if the missile had been
launched at a flattened trajectory.
The U.S.-based Union of Concerned Scientists said its calculations
showed the missile could have been capable of going as far into the
United States as Denver and Chicago.
David Wright of the Union of Concerned Scientists wrote in a blog
post that if it had flown on a standard trajectory, the missile
would have had a range of 10,400 km (6,500 miles).
Michael Elleman of the International Institute for Strategic Studies
estimated a range of at least 9,500 km and said the window for a
diplomatic solution with North Korea "is closing rapidly."
"The key here is that North Korea has a second successful test in
less than one month," he said. "If this trend holds, they could
establish an acceptably reliable ICBM before year's end."
(Additional reporting by Christine Kim in Seoul, Kaori Kaneko,
Elaine Lies and William Mallard in Tokyo, Ben Blanchard in Beijing,
David Brunnstrom in Washington and Philip Blenkinsop in Brussels;
Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan)
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