70 countries urge North Korea to scrap nuclear, ballistic weapons

Larry Hoffman
May 12, 2019

A separate statement by a North Korean foreign ministry spokesman described the launches as a "routine and self-defensive military drill".

The weapons demonstrated potential capability to reach deep into the USA mainland.

Longer-range ballistic missile tests, banned by the United Nations and seen as threatening by surrounding countries, would be likely to result in more sanctions.

The Yonhap News Agency later quoted the JCS as saying that the missiles had reached an altitude of about 50 km.

With the consecutive weapons launches, North Korea is pressuring South Korea to turn away from the United States and support North Korea's position more strongly, said Du Hyeogn Cha, a visiting scholar at Seoul's Asan Institute for Policy Studies.

"The missile is potentially capable of conducting strikes on all areas of South Korea, including key American military installations", said the Kyungnam University professor.

Experts said the government's possible humanitarian assistance could help build trust with North Korea but the move would have a limited impact on bringing the communist country back to the negotiating table. "They could carry a nuclear weapon".

Following the collapse of the Trump-Kim meeting, North Korea demanded that South Korea proceed with joint economic projects that have been held back by US -led sanctions against the North.

An unarmed Trident II D5 missile launches from the Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine USS Rhode Island off the coast of Cape Canaveral, Florida, May 9.

FILE PHOTO: North Korean military conducts a "strike drill" for multiple launchers and tactical guided weapon into the East Sea during a military drill in North Korea, in this May 4, 2019 photo supplied by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

The Rodong Sinmun photos showed the North used a tracked launch vehicle yesterday, unlike Saturday when it used a wheeled vehicle.

Pyongyang fired two short-range missiles Thursday following an earlier drill on Saturday. It said it is working with the United States to determine more details, such as the types of weapons that were fired. North Korea also ridiculed South Korea for criticizing those launches.

"Actually I think it was a very productive two days, but sometimes you just have to walk", Trump told reporters. "One should also be careful to not aggravate the situation with hasty actions".

North Korea and the United States are now deadlocked in diplomacy meant to rid the North of its nuclear arsenal.

The tests also likely held a message for domestic audiences created to boost support for Kim's government, he said.

When asked about the missiles, Trump said, "Nobody is happy about it, but we're taking a good look and we'll see" Reuters reported.

"The Kim regime is determined to fight pressure with pressure", said Leif-Eric Easley, a professor at Ewha University in Seoul. The sanctions have created economic difficulties for North Korea.

"It allowed Iran a path to a nuclear weapon", Barrasso said.

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