S Korea, Japan condemn latest missile test by North Korea
By Choi He-suk
15 May 2017

SEOUL (The Korea Herald/ANN News Desk) - South Korea and Japan condemn North Korean missile launch on Sunday, which indicated it may have new technological capabilities. 

South Korea and Japan strongly condemned a test missile launch by North Korea on Sunday morning amidst signs it may be testing new weaponry. 

At 5:27 am, Pyongyang fired a ballistic missile from North Pyongang Province in the country’s northwestern region. This marks the fifth time North Korea has launched a ballistic missile in the last two months. The four previous launches – March 22 and April 5, 16 and 29 – were assessed by Seoul and its allies as having failed. 

The missile, which fell into the East Sea after traveling a distance of over 700 kilometres, has not been identified. The US has indicated it may be a new type of ballistic missile.

Shortly after the launch, a US Pacific Command (PACOM) official was quoted by the media as saying that information gathered about the missile does not match that of an intercontinental ballistic missile.

PACOM also said the missile does not appear to be capable of posing a threat to the mainland US. 

However, on Monday morning, North Korea claimed they were testing the capacity of the missile to carry a “large scale heavy nuclear warhead,” according to Reuters.

Moon's first test 

As the allies analyse the latest launch, South Korean President Moon Jae-in ordered Seoul’s military to maintain readiness and to work closely with the US to prepare for “any military provocation” by Pyongyang. Moon also called for the development of the Korean Air and Missile Defense system to be hastened. 

“This is a clear violation of the US Security Council resolutions, and a grave challenge against international peace and security,” Moon said.

North Korea’s behaviour will be a test for Moon’s foreign policy stance as well. The newly elected liberal president has stated on a number of occasions that he would take a softer approach to Pyongyang than his predecessors and that he is open to engaging in dialogue if necessary conditions are met.

Japan condemns launch 

The Japanese government also reacted swiftly to the development, with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe saying the country would not tolerate such provocations. 

“North Korea’s repeated firing of ballistic missiles is a grave threat to the country (Japan), and a clear violation of the UN Security Council’s resolutions,” Abe told the media ahead of Japan’s national security meeting. 

He went on to say the Japanese government would work with Seoul and Washington to maintain a high level of readiness and to respond to further provocations. 

According to Japanese media, Tokyo’s Defense Ministry suspects Pyongyang employed a different launch method in its latest provocation. 

“North Korea’s missile is estimated to have reached altitude of over 2,000 kilometres,” Japan’s Defense Minister Tomomi Inada was quoted as saying by Japanese media.

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