Putin Sees Risk of World War 3
The missile flew about 1,700 miles (2,735km) and reached a height of 341 miles (548km), according to the South Korean military. It later broke into three pieces before falling into the Pacific Ocean, according to Japanese media.
The video comes after North Korean leader Kim Jong-un hailed the Tuesday launch as a “meaningful prelude” to striking the US territory of Guam, and said that Pyongyang needs to conduct more ballistic missile tests to advance its capabilities.
Hours after the launch, North Korea accused the US of driving the Korean Peninsula towards an “extreme level of explosion,” and said Pyongyang is justified in responding with “tough counter-measures.”
“The situation on the Korean Peninsula, where tensions have grown recently, is balancing on the brink of a large-scale conflict. Russia believes that the policy of putting pressure on Pyongyang to stop its nuclear missile program is misguided and futile,” Putin, who is due to attend a summit of the BRICS nations in China next week, wrote ahead of his trip.
Russia and China have created a roadmap for a settlement on the Korean Peninsula that is designed to promote the gradual easing of tensions and the creation of a mechanism for lasting peace and security, the Russian leader added.
The Russian-Chinese initiative of “double freezing,” put forward by the Russian and Chinese foreign ministers on July 4, is designed to cease any missile launches and nuclear tests by Pyongyang, as well as large-scale military exercises by Washington and Seoul.
Last month, the UN Security Council unanimously agreed to impose more restrictive measures on Pyongyang, banning exports of coal, iron, lead, and seafood. The move came in response to North Korea’s missile launches in July, which it, as well as South Korea and the US, claimed were intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) tests. Moscow has questioned the claim, arguing North Korea was testing intermediate range rockets.
China announced a full ban on imports of coal, iron, and seafood, among other goods from North Korea as of August 15, thus cutting key export revenues for Pyongyang.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Friday that all conceivable and unimaginable sanctions against North Korea have already been imposed, to no avail.
“All possible sanctions aimed at preventing North Korea from using a map of external relations for the development of missile and nuclear programs banned by the [UN] Security Council, all conceivable and even unimaginable sanctions, which have little to do directly with these areas of DPRK’s [the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] activities, have already been adopted by the Security Council. In addition, unilateral sanctions have been adopted, which we consider illegitimate,” Lavrov said.
In a bid to ease tensions, Moscow will seek the resumption of six-party talks on the situation on the Korean Peninsula, the Russian Foreign Minister noted.
“We will still seek to resume these talks,” he said, adding that “we know that Americans are talking with representatives of Pyongyang via some semi-secret, semi-official, semi-academic channel.”
Moscow will be happy “if they agree on some de-escalation, so that all parties cool down, sit down at the negotiating table and start talking.”
“We have a common goal – denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, so that neither the North nor the South, the US and us [Russia] have nuclear weapons,” Lavrov said.
China and Japan Clash
“Japan’s national defense budget has been rising for years indeed, and has reached a record high. We are concerned about that,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said during a Thursday press briefing, when asked whether Beijing is concerned that North Korea is contributing to an arms buildup in the region.
“In recent years, Japan has never stopped fabricating, exaggerating, and playing up all kinds of threats it faces. In the meantime, it has been expanding its national defense budget, upgrading its military arsenal, and taking steps to implement the new security bill.
“All countries should be on high alert as to what Japan has done and its real motives. We believe that Japan should honestly explain its real motives to the international community,” Hua said.
She urged Japan to “exercise caution in the military and security field,” saying she hopes Tokyo can “learn from history.”
Hua’s comments came just hours after Japanese media reported that the country’s defense ministry was seeking 5.26-trillion yen (US$48 billion) to boost its missile defense capabilities.
As part of the budget plan, Tokyo aims to purchase a land-based anti-missile system known as Aegis Ashore, according to The Japan Times. It is also considering an option of the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD), according to AP.
Other purchases would include a SM-3 Block IIA interceptor missile, which the defense ministry says will boost Japan’s defense capabilities and improve its ability to shoot down a ballistic missile launched into space on a steep “lofted” trajectory.
An upgraded version of the current Patriot Advanced Capability-3 anti-missile system would also be bought, allowing for greater ability to down cruise missiles and jets.
The budget would also go towards assembly costs associated with maintaining the US-made Global Hawk reconnaissance aircraft; two compact destroyers; a new lithium battery-powered submarine; and six F-35 stealth fighters to be deployed at Misawa in northern Japan.
If approved, the budget request – which represents a 2.5-percent increase from last year – would represent the sixth straight annual defense spending increase for Japan. It would go into effect for fiscal year 2018, which begins on April 1, 2018.
The Japanese Defense Ministry says the planned upgrades are designed to improve the country’s response to unexpected and simultaneous missile attacks, including ones on a lofted trajectory.
The move comes after North Korea launched a ballistic missile over Japanese airspace on Tuesday, in a move which Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called an “unprecedented, grave, and serious threat.”
Following the launch, China urged all sides to avoid further provocations, while warning that tensions on the Korean Peninsula had reached “tipping point” and were “approaching a crisis.”
China, along with Russia, has developed a ‘double freeze’ plan which would see North Korean suspend its ballistic missile tests in exchange for a halt in joint US-South Korea military drills. The plan has been rejected by Washington.
In addition to North Korea, Japan also views China as a security threat, and has expressed concern about its growing military presence in the disputed South China Sea. It also has an ongoing territorial feud with Beijing in the East China Sea. However, China’s ambassador to Japan accused Tokyo and Washington in March of portraying Beijing as an enemy in order to strengthen their long-standing security alliance.