NEW YORK. – The UN Security Council is to hold an urgent meeting later yesterday after North Korea announced it had successfully tested a new ballistic missile, a launch seen as a challenge to President Donald Trump. The North’s leader Kim Jong-Un “expressed great satisfaction over the possession of another powerful nuclear attack means which adds to the tremendous might of the country”, state news agency KCNA said.
Permanent Security Council members China and Russia joined a chorus of international criticism of Sunday’s launch by the nuclear-armed nation from near the western city of Kusong.
The council were expected to meet around 2200 GMT yesterday following a request by the United States, Japan and South Korea.
North Korea is barred under UN resolutions from carrying out ballistic missile launches or nuclear weapons tests.
But last year it conducted two nuclear tests and numerous missile launches in its quest to develop a nuclear weapons system capable of hitting the US mainland.
The latest missile – said by Pyongyang to be able to carry a nuclear warhead – flew east for about 500 kilometres before falling into the Sea of Japan (East Sea), South Korea’s defence ministry has said.
Footage on the North’s state television showed the missile being moved on a newly-developed mobile erector launcher.
It was launched at a near-vertical angle, igniting in mid-air after lift-off and switching direction while in flight.
Photos released by KCNA showed the missile blasting into the sky with a smiling Kim watching from the command centre, and standing on the launch field surrounded by dozens of cheering soldiers and scientists.
It said Kim “personally guided” preparations for Sunday’s test of what it described as a surface-to-surface “medium long range” Pukguksong-2, a “Korean-style new type strategic weapon system”.
KCNA said the missile was powered by a solid-fuel engine – which needs a far shorter refuelling time than conventional liquid fuel-powered missiles, according to Yun Duk-Min of the Institute for Foreign Affairs and Security in Seoul. – AFP.