Moon condemns NK missile test, urges it to halt provocations for dialogue

Posted May 15, 2017

"North Korea launched a ballistic missile at 5:27am this morning in Pyongan Province", South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said, adding, that it is now analyzing the launch.

North Korea on Sunday test-launched a ballistic missile that flew for half an hour and reached an unusually high altitude before landing in the Sea of Japan, the South Korean, Japanese and USA militaries said.

"This missile launch represented no danger for the Russian Federation", according to a defense ministry statement carried by Russian state news agencies.

The launch took place while Beijing is hosting an worldwide "Silk Road" summit with global leaders, including Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"Despite strong warning from the global community, North Korea launched a ballistic missile again", Abe said, adding "This is totally unacceptable and we strongly protest it".

The foreign ministry said Seoul's chief negotiator on the North Korean nuclear issue also had phone talks with his US and Japanese counterparts, Joseph Yun and Kenji Kanasugi, to share assessments on the latest missile firing and discuss how to respond to it.

In Washington, the White House said Trump "cannot imagine Russian Federation is pleased" with the test as the missile landed closer to Russian Federation than to Japan.

Subsequently, North Korea lobbed another ballistic missile into the Sea of Japan as part of its testing programs.

"Australia regards this as a reckless and provocative action that leads to instability both regionally and globally and has condemned clearly in the past North Korea for this sort of behaviour and we do so again", Defence Minister Marise Payne told reporters in Melbourne on Sunday.

The launch was also aimed at "maximizing the North's political leverage" ahead of possible negotiations with the United States, as Pyongyang and Washington both recently signaled they were open to talks, he added.

The United States called for repercussions from the worldwide community. She says more analysis was needed.

The isolated regime attempted but failed to test-launch ballistic missiles four consecutive times in the past two months but has conducted a variety of missile testing since the beginning of a year ago at fast pace. Russian President Vladimir Putin as well as a North Korean delegation attended the conference.

The White House said the US maintains its "ironclad commitment" to stand with its allies in the face of the serious threat posed by North Korea, and added that the latest "provocation" should serve as a call for all nations to implement far stronger sanctions against the North.

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According to senior presidential secretary Yoon Young-chan, Moon expressed "deep regret" over the fact this "provocation" occurred just days after a new government was sworn in in South Korea.

The projectile traveled around 700 kilometers before landing in open waters east of the Korean Peninsula in the direction of Japan.

A U.S. defence official confirmed that it flew that far, but said Washington was still investigating to determine the type of missile.

"With the missile impacting so close to Russian soil - in fact, closer to Russia than to Japan - the President can not imagine that Russia is pleased", the statement said.

In April, Mr Trump said he would be "honoured" to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

"North Korea's pursuit of nuclear technology has impaired its own security as well as the region's, and it has also jeopardized China's national security", the paper said in an editorial this month.

Sunday's launch, the North's first-known missile test in two weeks, came amid renewed hopes of inter-Korean dialogue under Moon's presidency.

Japan Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga declined to comment when he was asked whether the latest missile launch was a success, and whether it represented a new level of threat.

Japan strongly condemned the launch in a similar manner.

Moon had said in his inauguration speech that he was willing to visit Pyongyang "in the right circumstances" to defuse tensions on the Korean peninsula.

Choe Son-Hui, a senior official at the North's foreign ministry handling its United States policy, also said Saturday the North would be willing to hold talks with the USA if the conditions are right.

While analysts were careful of reading too much into the political timing of the missile launch - pointing to technical considerations and favorable weather conditions - they were clear the move would not be well received in Beijing.