North Korea Test-Fires Ballistic Missile; US not Suprised

By Prei Dy, | February 13, 2017

North Korea claimed it has successfully test-fired a ballistic missile, its first under Trump's presidency. (YouTube)

North Korea claimed it has successfully test-fired a ballistic missile, its first under Trump's presidency. (YouTube)

North Korea on Monday claimed it successfully carried out a test-firing of its new medium- to long-range ballistic missile that could carry nuclear warheads.

North Korea launched the missile from North Pyongyang Province towards the Sea of Japan at around 7:55 a.m. on Sunday, with an altitude of around 550 kilometers and a distance of around 500 kilometers before it hit the water, South Korea's Joint Chiefs revealed. The test appeared to be likely an upgraded version of an intermediate-range Musudan-class missile, and not an intercontinental ballistic missile.

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North Korean leader Kim Jong Un reportedly graced the Pukguksong-2 missile launch, Pyongyang's Korean Central News Agency reported. Kim has allegedly commanded the development of a surface-to-surface ballistic missile based on technology used in a submarine-launched missile that was tested in August last year.

The Pukguksong-2 is equipped with a solid-fuel engine with the ability to deliver high thrust. Pyongyang's official news agency said that the recent launch was carried out at a high angle, compromising range out of consideration for neighboring nations.

Japan, on the other hand, said there were no reports of damage to its aircraft or ships, although Abe called the move as "absolutely intolerable" and Pyongyang must adhere to the UN Security Council resolutions, Nikkei Review reported.

Meanwhile, the recent launch is North Korea's first test after US President Donald Trump assumed his position in the White House. However, it came as no surprise to the US as an official said they had been expecting a North Korean "provocation" soon after the new chief executive takes office. The official said the US will consider a range of options and will give a calibrated response.

"This was no surprise," the official said. "The North Korean leader likes to draw attention at times like this." The launch also comes a day after Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held their first summit meeting.

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