Originally Published : By Mark Moore
North Korea successfully launched another ballistic missile Sunday, the second test-firing of a rocket in a week and a show of defiance that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called “disturbing.”
Vowing that the US will continue to apply economic and diplomatic pressure on the reclusive regime, Tillerson warned President Kim Jong Un to curtail his nuclear ambitions.
“Hopefully they will get the message that the path of continuing their nuclear arms program is not a pathway to security or certainly prosperity,” Tillerson said on “Fox News Sunday.”
“The ongoing testing is disappointing, it’s disturbing. We ask that they cease that because until they cease that testing, clearly they have not changed their view.”
The missile was launched from an area north of the capital city, Pyongyang, and traveled about 310 miles toward the Sea of Japan. It was tracked by the US Pacific Command. Last week’s launch flew higher and farther, experts said, and North Korea claimed the rocket was capable of carrying a nuclear warhead that could reach Alaska.
South Korean officials said the launch throws “cold water” on efforts to reduce escalating tensions in the Korean peninsula.
The tests were “reckless and irresponsible actions throwing cold water over the hopes and desires of this new government and the international community for denuclearization and peace on the Korean peninsula,” the Foreign Ministry said.
In Japan, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the launch was a “challenge to the world” and that he will bring up North Korea’s growing belligerence at an Italian meeting of the world’s major powers, the Group of Seven.
President Trump is scheduled to attend on Friday and Saturday.
The United Nations Security Council is expected to take up the North Korea issue on Tuesday after receiving a request from the US, Japan and South Korea.
A military expert at Kyungnam University’s Institute for Far Eastern Studies, in Seoul, told Reuters that North Korea has picked up the pace of the testing because it’s trying to perfect the use of solid- and liquid-fuel missiles.
“I think the team to develop liquid-fuel missiles are being pitted against the solid-fuel team,” said Kim Dong-yub. “The liquid-fuel team succeeded on May 14 so the solid-fuel team went for another round to achieve success. That is why the speed of North Korea’s missile development is going beyond imagination.”
Solid-fuel missiles have an advantage because they can be launched quickly from hidden mobile platforms. Liquid fuel needs to be transported by trucks that can be surveilled by satellites, according to reports.
North Korea conducted two nuclear tests last year amid attempts to fit the weapons on long-range rockets. Sunday’s launch was the 10th since Trump’s Jan. 20 inauguration.
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