North Korea Looks to Fit Nuclear Warheads to Missiles in Test

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North Korea successfully tested a newly-developed ballistic missile, seeking to verify the new missile’s capability to carry a nuclear warhead, the North Korean government said Monday.

“The test-fire aimed at verifying the tactical and technological specifications of the newly developed ballistic rocket capable of carrying a large-size heavy nuclear warhead,” said the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), North Korea’s state-run media service.

The test, the country’s seventh this year, was conducted on Sunday and drew significant ire from White House officials, who called the North Korean regime a “flagrant menace” in a statement.

“The United States maintains our ironclad commitment to stand with our allies in the face of the serious threat posed by North Korea,” the statement went on to say.

More hostile rhetoric flew from the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un after the test, accusing the United States of “browbeating” non-nuclear armed countries.

“If the U.S. awkwardly attempts to provoke the DPRK, it will not escape from the biggest disaster in the [sic] history,” Kim told KCNA. The media service went on paraphrase Kim’s statement: “…the U.S. should not disregard or misjudge the reality that its mainland and Pacific operation region are in the DPRK’s sighting range for strike and that it has all powerful means for retaliatory strike,” KCNA reported. DPRK is an acronym for North Korea’s official name, The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

Before landing in the ocean somewhere near Russia, the missile flew about 435 miles and reached an altitude of over 1,243 miles, further and higher than in any previous North Korean missile test, according to 38 North, a project of the U.S.-Korea Institute at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies devoted to analysis of North Korea.

“North Korea’s latest successful missile test represents a level of performance never before seen from a North Korean missile,” the organization said in an analysis last Sunday.

“It appears to have not only demonstrated an intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) that might enable them to reliably strike the U.S. base at Guam, but more importantly, may represent a substantial advance to developing an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).”

South Korean military officials were more skeptical, saying on Monday that before they can verify the success of the test, more analysis was needed.

While North Korea is suspected to be in the process of developing an ICBM, the test on Sunday used a missile with a much shorter range.

“The type of missile is being assessed and the flight was not consistent with an intercontinental ballistic missile,” Pacific Command spokesman Maj. Rob Shuford said in a statement.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, said on Sunday that the administration would continue to “tighten the screws” on the North Korean regime. That remark is in line with prior rhetoric, but somewhat at odds with statements from South Korea’s newly-elected president, Moon Jae-in.

Sworn in Wednesday, Moon has advocated for dialogue with the North Korean regime, vowing to fly to Washington “immediately” if it meant resolving the security crisis.

“Under the right conditions, I will also go to Pyongyang,” Moon said at his swearing in ceremony. “For peace on the Korean Peninsula, I will do everything that I can do.”

This approach is in stark contrast to Moon’s predecessor, Park Geun-hye, who advocated aggressive sanctions against North Korea and, before her impeachment, sought to allow the United States to deploy a THAAD missile defense system in South Korea. Moon wants to suspend that deployment, at the very least to allow the South Korean parliament to weigh in on the decision.

If Moon can get Washington on board with his more diplomatic approach, it may represent a significant shift in how South Korea deals with its northern neighbor.

Despite the hostile rhetoric, Choe Son Hui, a senior North Korean diplomat who handles relations with the United States, on Saturday told reporters that Pyongyang would “have a dialogue if the conditions are there,” further opening up chances for diplomacy.

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  • tonye

    Moon is drinking the wrong kool aid

    Meanwhile the Iranians have found the missile they need and they can pay top dollar to North Korea with the billions Obola gave them.

    • WKP AnCap

      Nobody gave the Iranians anything that wasn’t already theirs. US froze Iranian assets and gave them back. You make it sound like we subsidized them.

      • Rebel w/out a Cause

        The guy next door tells everyone who will listen that he hates you, thinks you’re Satan, and marches around the block chanting “Death to my neighbor!”. You have his gun in your closet. Do you give it back to him because it’s his? Something doesn’t smell right.

        • Will Porter

          (I’m the same person as WKP AnCap, also the author of the article above, I don’t know why the names switch when I switch devices.)

          That’s such a vast oversimplification and misreading of the history between Iran and the United States that I’m not sure where to even begin.

          You do realize that Iran hates America for a number of reasons, no? America runs a global empire that regularly meddles in the affairs of other nations, Iran included.

          The Iranians haven’t forgiven us for our CIA coup in the 50s, but the provocations certainly didn’t end there, only began.

          Long story short, there don’t have to be problems between our two countries, but American hawks refuse to allow detente, illustrated by the reactions to O’s nuclear deal, one of the few good things he did in 8 years.

          • Rebel w/out a Cause

            And there you have it – it’s America’s fault. As per usual.

            Oh, that nuclear deal that they don’t bother to keep? I do understand the idea that Neocons want control of everything. They want their global empire, true. But I still think the whole thing smells fishy. And by the way, ANY country around the world probably hates us for the reasons you mentioned. I lived in the Bahamas, and even THEY hate us. They consider us to be arrogant and vulgar. And I lived among the people. So I know.

            Maybe we deserve it, maybe not. I know quite a few Americans who fit that description. But do you think giving Iran those billions of dollars appeased them? Nope. Just look at the continuing provocations and threats. They’re like a grown up version of the Little Fat Boy. If and when they get their nukes, they already have the delivery systems.

            What Obama did was right in line with his “world apology tour”. Tell the world how evil America has been (and still is), and try to “make nice”. I don’t think it’s helping. Even while he was saying those things, he was drone-killing hundreds. And bragging about it. “I’m really good at killing people”, *smile smugly* This is why I think it smells rotten. It’s all a show.

          • WKP AnCap

            As you said yourself, a huge list of countries around the world hate us. Not for who we are, but for what we do.

            Despite what you might hear on Fox News, the nuclear deal is coming along fine. No major violations in the most strict IAEA safeguards program in world history. It really was a good deal, but Iran wasn’t looking for a nuke anyway. Read Gareth Porter’s (no relation) “Manufactured Crisis,” it is THE definitive work on Iran’s nuclear program, and it proves almost beyond doubt that Iran never even made the political decision to develop nukes in the first place.

            Regarding threats, US politicians threaten Iran all the time, only difference is that their threats are actually credible, unlike the obviously empty rhetoric coming from the Mad Mullahs.

            I absolutely despise Barack Obama, so yeah I agree that it’s absurd to bomb 7 countries then go around acting like you’re repenting for it. Obama was as much of a murderer and war monger as his predecessor.

          • Rebel w/out a Cause

            Agreed, and there’s probably a lot that NONE OF US knows abot what goes on behind the scenes. But I don’t watch Fox News. Their agenda is as transparent as CNN or MSNBC.

            We’ll have to wait and see what happens with Iran. But I just saw somewhere that the hardliners won their election. That doesn’t bode well. Now let’s see what they decide to do with the $billions they got.

  • Guido FL

    Hey President Trump, NK nut case Kim is calling your bluff ???