North Korea missiles: Expert discusses possible sanctions
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Pyogyang fired two ballistic missiles across its east coast yesterday, as it conducted its first test of such weapons in six months. KCNA claimed the missiles flew 800km (497 miles), before hitting a target located in the sea off North Korea’s east coast. Japan’s Defence Minister later said they had landed inside his country’s exclusive economic zone.
The railway-borne missile regiment is a new feature of the North’s military and was created earlier this year, KCNA reported.
Pak Jong Chon, a North Korean Marshal told the state news agency: “The railway-borne missile system serves as an efficient counter-strike means capable of dealing a harsh multi-concurrent blow to the threat-posing forces.”
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) confirmed that the missiles were launched from central inland areas and flew east towards the Sea of Japan, also known as the East Sea.
Japan’s Prime Minister, Yoshihide Suga, slammed Pyongyang for its actions, calling the launch “outrageous”.
Washington described it as posing a threat to neighbouring countries and the wider international community.
North Korea is currently banned under UN resolutions from carrying out ballistic missile tests.
Ballistic missiles can be armed with both conventional and nuclear warheads and are classified according to how far they can travel.
Intercontinental ballistic missiles have the furthest range and North Korea reportedly possesses those that are capable of reaching nearly all of Western Europe, as well as about half of the US mainland.
It comes as South Korea launched its own ballistic missiles in a pre-planned exercise on Wednesday, that was not in retaliation for the North’s actions.
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Seoul fired its first submarine-launched ballistic missile, known as SLBM, just hours after the North conducted its tests.
Professor John Delury at Yonsei University told AFP news agency: “It’s extraordinary timing that you have not one but two Koreas testing ballistic missiles on the same day.
“It does speak to the fact that there’s an arms race in this region.”
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