Latest DPRK missile launch raises tensions


Latest DPRK missile launch raises tensions

The latest missile test by Pyongyang on Wednesday local time has prompted US President Donald Trump to vow Washington “will take care of” the situation, while the US’ top diplomat repeated that diplomatic options remain viable and open.

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea fired what the US Pentagon said appeared to be an intercontinental ballistic missile that landed in the sea close to Japan on Wednesday.

The launch came a week after Trump relisted the DPRK as a state sponsor of terrorism, a designation Pyongyang called a “serious provocation and violent infringement”.

“I will only tell you that we will take care of it. … It is a situation that we will handle,” Trump told reporters during a meeting at the White House on Tuesday.

The United States and Japan have asked for a United Nations Security Council meeting on Wednesday over the test, diplomats said, according to Reuters.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Tuesday condemned the launch and urged the international community to take new steps to press Pyongyang to halt development of nuclear arms.

“Diplomatic options remain viable and open, for now. The United States remains committed to finding a peaceful path to denuclearization and to ending belligerent actions by North Korea,” Tillerson said in a statement.

There was no immediate comment from China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs as of press time. Beijing has repeatedly urged all parties, especially the main parties directly concerned, to make efforts toward the goal of denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

Last Friday, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said that with the advancement of the relevant resolutions of the Security Council, the situation on the Korean Peninsula had been stable recently “without large-scale accident or serious situation”, which Wang said was comforting.

The Chinese foreign minister, at a joint press conference with visiting French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian in Beijing last Friday, said that the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue has lasted for more than two decades, and the most valuable experience hence is that if all parties meet each other halfway to create positive interaction, agreements then follow.

“The most important lesson is that if some parties flex their muscle and misunderstand each other, the opportunities for peace will disappear,” Wang said, according to a release posted on the foreign ministry’s website.

Wang analyzed several prospects of the nuclear issue and said the top priority is to comprehensively and fully implement the relevant resolutions of the UN Security Council to bring the issue back to negotiations as soon as possible, or at least to maintain stability and prevent the situation from deteriorating into confrontation.

The latest DPRK missile, launched in the early hours of Wednesday, flew for about 50 minutes and crashed into the sea in Japan’s exclusive economic zone, Japanese broadcaster NHK said.

“The test is unusual in that it was conducted in the dead of night, perhaps reflecting North Korean concerns about avoiding a US ballistic missile defense intercept,” the Center for Strategic and International Studies said in a newsletter on Tuesday.

The Washington-based think tank said historical data suggests that a significant uptick in testing will come in early 2018. On Nov 22, it predicted the likelihood of a test within the next 14 days.

Minutes after Pyongyang fired the missile, Seoul conducted a missile-firing test in response, Reuters reported.

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