North Korea: Pyongyang 'ready to mass-produce missiles'

Marsha Scott
May 24, 2017

North Korea has in recent years touted its drone program, a relatively new addition to its arsenal.

The missile reached a maximum altitude of 560 km and flew for around 500 km, and given the launch angle, South Korea believes its maximum range would be 2,500 km, which is enough to target South Korea or Japan.

South Korea, which on Sunday had called the launch "reckless and irresponsible", said Monday the launched showed progress in the North's missile program.

In an interview with "Fox News Sunday", U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said it was too early to know whether diplomatic and economic pressures being exerted on the North Korean government are having an impact in the wake of the latest missile test.

North Korea may have begun acquiring demilitarized vehicles from China's Hubei Sanjiang Space Wanshan Special Vehicle Co., a wholly owned subsidiary of China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp., according to Nuclear Threat Initiative in Washington, D.C.

Council members vowed to "fully and comprehensively" implement the six rounds of sanctions the U.N.'s most powerful body has already imposed against North Korea and strongly urged all other U.N. member nations "to do so in an expeditious and serious manner".

Inspections of ships operated by third-party nations that are transporting trade goods for North Korea could be strengthened, to block the movement of materials that could be diverted into nuclear weapons and missile development.

According to state-run news agency KCNA, it was overseen by leader Kim Jong-un, who "approved the deployment of this weapon system for action".

U.S. Pacific Command said it tracked the missile until it landed into the sea.

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"This is the Democratic People's Republic of Korea's answer to the Trump administration".

The Security Council statement emphasized "the vital importance" of North Korea "immediately showing honest commitment to denuclearization through concrete action".

Early last week, the UN Security Council demanded that North Korea desist, saying that they need to "immediately [show] honest commitment to denuclearization through concrete action".

The test quiets aspirations of peace between North and South Korea. First tested in February, it uses solid rocket fuel.

KCNA said the North was ready to start mass-producing the new medium-range ballistic missile, which it said is capable of reaching Japan and major American military bases.

North Korea a week earlier successfully tested a new midrange missile - the Hwasong 12 - that it said could carry a heavy nuclear warhead.

Solid-fuel missiles have their fuel loaded in them before being moved into place, allowing them to be launched faster and with more secrecy.

Solid fuel is like an explosive jelly, and less corrosive than liquid fuel, meaning it can be easily stored in the rocket's fuel tank, unlike the liquid alternative, which requires specially lined tanks.

Kim said there's also a possibility that the North is conducting engine tests and other experiments as it pushes for the development of a solid-fuel intercontinental ballistic missile that could potentially reach the US mainland.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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