Missile had considerably longer range than those previously tested.
Upon taking the oath of office a few days ago, South Korea’s new president, Moon Jae-in, indicated the he is willing to visit the nuclear-armed North.
Moon, who was declared the winner on Tuesday of the presidential election, said he will “sincerely negotiate” with the United States, South Korea’s chief ally, and China, South Korea’s top trading partner, over the contentious deployment of the US anti-missile system THAAD.
The missile defence system has angered China, which says its powerful radars allow the US to spy on its own military operations.
Moon, 64, begins his five-year term as president after Park Geun-hye was toppled and indicted for corruption.
Subsequently, North Korea lobbed another ballistic missile into the Sea of Japan as part of its testing programs.
North Korea fired a ballistic missile on Sunday in defiance of calls to rein in its weapons program, South Korean and U.S. officials said, days after a new leader took office in the South, pledging to engage it in dialogue.
The U.S. Pacific Command said it was assessing the type of missile but it was “not consistent with an intercontinental ballistic missile”. Japanese Defense Minister Tomomi Inada said the missile could be of a new type.
The missile flew 700 km (430 miles) and reached an altitude of more than 2,000 km (1,245 miles), according to officials in South Korea and Japan, further and higher than an intermediate-range missile North Korea successfully tested in February from the same region of Kusong, northwest of its capital, Pyongyang.
The missile test is already causing Moon to reevaluate his earlier stance.
After hosting an emergency meeting of his security council, Mr Moon condemned the latest launch as a “provocation”.
“The president said while South Korea remains open to the possibility of dialogue with North Korea, it is only possible when the North shows a change in attitude,” his spokesman said.
The reports about this particular test are causing considerable concern: If the data are correct, this missile had considerably longer range than those previously. David Wright, physicist and co-director of the UCS Global Security Program, has this analysis:
Reports from Japan say that the missile fell into the Sea of Japan after traveling about 700 km (430 miles), after flying for about 30 minutes.
A missile with a range of 1,000 km (620 miles), such as the extended-range Scud, or Scud-ER, would only have a flight time of about 12 minutes if flown on a slightly lofted trajectory that traveled 700 km.
A 30-minute flight time would instead require a missile that was highly lofted, reaching an apogee of about 2,000 km (1,240 miles) while splashing down at a range of 700 km. If that same missile was flown on a standard trajectory, it would have a maximum range of about 4,500 km (2,800 miles).
New press reports are in fact giving a 2,000 km apogee for the test.
This range is considerably longer than the estimated range of the Musudan missile, which showed a range of about 3,000 km in a test last year. Guam is 3,400 km from North Korea. Reaching the US West Coast would require a missile with a range of more than 8,000 km. Hawaii is roughly 7,000 km from North Korea
Though Moon’s response may not cause North Korea’s Kim Jong Un any concern, the missile test has marred China’s international showcase of its new Silk Road plan, as North Korean representatives were on the guest list.
Chinese President Xi Jinping is playing host to almost 30 world leaders and representatives from 100-odd countries, on Sunday at the One Belt One Road Forum in Beijing.
…Mr Xi pledged $US124 billion ($A168 billion) for his Silk Road plan, saying everyone was welcome to join what he envisioned would be a path for peace and prosperity for the world.
China has touted what it formally calls the Belt and Road initiative as a new way to boost development since Mr Xi unveiled the plan in 2013, aiming to expand links between Asia, Africa, Europe and beyond underpinned by billions of dollars in infrastructure investment.
“We should build an open platform of cooperation and uphold and grow an open world economy,” Mr Xi told the opening of a summit on the new Silk Road.
That cooperation will be difficult to achieve when ballistic missiles are regularly flying from one of the nations participating.DONATE
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