U.S. Confirms North Korea Tested ICBM In 'New Escalation Of Threat'
RFE/RL July 05, 2017
The United States confirmed on July 4 that North Korea had tested an intercontinental ballistic missile and warned of a "new escalation of the threat" to the United States and its allies.
The Pentagon and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson both confirmed the leap in technology even as Pyongyang boasted that the missile can carry "large and heavy" nuclear warheads such as hydrogen bombs.
The U.S. confirmation came as the U.S. military and South Korea staged a show of force by firing missiles into the waters off the Korean coast, with the U.S. Army warning that it has "deep strike precision capability...to engage the full array" of targets in the area.
Tillerson called for international action, saying Pyongyang's test on July 3 poses a threat to all nations.
"All nations should publicly demonstrate to North Korea that there are consequences to their pursuit of nuclear weapons," he said.
"Global action is required to stop a global threat," Tillerson said. "Any country that hosts North Korean guest workers, provides any economic or military benefits, or fails to fully implement UN Security Council resolutions is aiding and abetting a dangerous regime."
His warning appeared aimed in particular at Russia and China, which both employ thousands of North Korean workers and have economic ties with Pyongyang.
While urging action by all nations, Tillerson in a veiled hint of possible U.S. retaliation said the United States "will never accept a nuclear-armed North Korea."
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also condemned the missile test as a "brazen violation of Security Council resolutions" and "a dangerous escalation of the situation."
He called on North Korea to "cease further provocative actions and comply fully with its international obligations."
Guterres stressed "the importance of maintaining the unity of the international community in addressing this serious challenge."
The UN Security Council scheduled an emergency meeting on the matter for the afternoon of July 5, following a request by the United States, Japan, and South Korea.
The Pentagon, in confirming that North Korea had test-launched an ICBM, said it "remains prepared to defend ourselves and our allies and to use the full range of capabilities at our disposal against the growing threat from North Korea."
The North's state media said the missile, a Hwasong-14, flew 933 kilometers and reached an altitude of 2,802 kilometers over a flight time of 39 minutes.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un issued a statement calling the missile test a "gift" to America on its July 4 Independence Day. He said Pyongyang "would not negotiate with the United States to give up those weapons until Washington abandons its hostile policy against the North," the country's KCNA news agency said.
Experts were doubtful about Pyongyang's assertion that the missile test was successful in showing it could send nuclear bombs into space on an ICBM that would survive reentry into the Earth's atmosphere.
With reporting by AP, AFP, and Reuters
Copyright (c) 2017. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.
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