Uhuru-Spirit News


July 05, 2017 | Uhuruspirit

This image made from video of a news bulletin aired by North Korea's KRT on Tuesday shows what was said to be North Korea leader Kim Jung Un watching the launch of a Hwasong-14 intercontinental ballistic missile in North Korea's northwest. | KRT via AP Video

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un defiantly vowed to continue sending the US "gift packages" of nuclear and missile tests after Washington confirmed that Pyongyang had successfully tested its first intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

North Korean state media, which on Wednesday reported the missile was capable of carrying a "large-sized heavy nuclear warhead," quoted a broadly-smiling Kim as saying the launch was an Independence Day "gift" for Americans.

The report of Kim's proud defiance came as US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called for further international pressure against North Korea after he confirmed the missile had indeed been an ICBM.

Shortly after Tillerson described the testing of the ICBM as a "new escalation" of the threat from North Korea, the US and South Korea staged a combined military exercise aimed at sending Pyongyang a warning, firing a barrage of missiles into the East Sea.

The US intends to bring North Korea's action to the UN Security Council and enact stronger measures to hold North Korea accountable, Tillerson said in a statement.

"All nations should publicly demonstrate to North Korea that there are consequences to their pursuit of nuclear weapons," he said.

"Countries that host North Korean guest workers, provide economic or military benefits to North Korea or fail to fully implement UN Security Council resolutions are aiding and abetting a dangerous regime," he added.

The US military said Tuesday in a statement it had "detected and tracked" a North Korean missile for 37 minutes before it landed in the Sea of Japan. The missile was launched from near Panghyon Airfield at 12:40 am Tuesday (0040 GMT), US Pacific Command said, adding that it did not pose a threat to North America.

The statement rebutted North Korea's claim that the missile was an ICBM, but US officials later revised their assessment, telling US media it was probably an intercontinental ballistic missile.

North Korea said the Hwasong-14 missile was an ICBM that had reached a cruising altitude of 2,802 kilometres and had flown 933 kilometres before landing in the Sea of Japan.

The missile's range means North Korea is a step closer to being able to launch a missile that could strike the US.

US President Donald Trump did not mention the missile test which took place on Independence Day on Tuesday and days ahead of the G20 leaders' summit in Germany, as he addressed members of the US military who were invited to a picnic on the White House lawn to mark the holiday.

Trump, who is due to leave for Germany on Wednesday, warned last week that the "era of strategic patience" with Pyongyang is over.

But the president, who has turned to Beijing for help in reining in North Korea, sent a series of tweets after the launch, apparently referrring to Kim when he wrote, "Does this guy have anything better to do with his life?"

Trump also said, "Perhaps China will put a heavy move on North Korea and end this nonsense once and for all!"

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping, meeting in Moscow, agreed to actively promote a collaborative initiative to "freeze the nuclear activities of North Korea and the large-scale military exercises of the US and South Korea," Putin said.

"Our mutual priorities include a comprehensive resolution of the problems of the Korean Peninsula in order to ensure lasting peace and stability in north-eastern Asia," Putin said, according to state news agency TASS.

- Dpa

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