World War 3: North Korea Ready to Strike USA
North Korea on Wednesday confirmed the firing of an intermediate-range ballistic missile that flew over Japan a day earlier, with its leader calling for more missile tests targeting locations in the Pacific.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un watched the launch of the Hwasong-12 missile in a drill aimed at countering ongoing military drills between Seoul and Washington, according to the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).
He said that the latest firing was “the first step of the military operation of the Korean People’s Army in the Pacific and a meaningful prelude to containing Guam,” the report said in an English dispatch.
“It is necessary to positively push forward the work for putting the strategic force on a modern basis by conducting more ballistic rocket launching drills with the Pacific as a target in the future,” Kim was quoted as saying by the KCNA.
North Korea on Tuesday fired the missile from Pyongyang, which crossed over Japan. It traversed more than 2,700 kilometers and reached a maximum altitude of around 550 km, according to South Korea’s military.
The provocation came as South Korean and U.S. troops are staging their annual joint military exercises, which will end Thursday.
United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted a statement condemning North Korea for its “outrageous actions and threats against another UN Member State.” The US-drafted document urges Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear and ballistic missile programs, while expressing a “commitment to a peaceful, diplomatic and political solution.” The 15-member body, which convened for an emergency session Tuesday, did not introduce any new sanctions against the North, with China and Russia reiterating that such pressure tactics is futile in terms of drawing Pyongyang into constructive dialogue.
North Korea has long denounced them as a rehearsal for an invasion of it though the allies said that exercises are defensive in nature.
The move came amid an apparent conciliatory gesture from the United States after exchanges of bellicose rhetoric between U.S. President Donald Trump and the North Korean leadership.
Experts said that Pyongyang seems to be defiant toward Washington’s talk of dialogue, which it views as lacking sincerity without concrete actions.
“The missile test appeared to be aimed at pressuring the U.S. and expressing its will to take the initiative in the current security situation,” said Kim Yong-hyun, a professor at Dongguk University.
Analysts said that Pyongyang is likely to stage more provocative acts, such as the firing of new ballistic missiles, as it called Tuesday’s missile launch a prelude to hitting targets in the Pacific.
North Korea unveiled photos that indicate that it may be developing a new submarine-launched, solid-fuel missile, called the Pukguksong-3 and a Hwasong-13 ICBM.
“North Korea is expected to stick to missile provocations until the international community takes strong actions enough to effectively deter its behavior,” said Yang Wook, a senior researcher of the Korea Defense and Security Forum.
The U.S. is likely to continue to employ pressure and sanctions on the wayward regime and press China, the main ally of North Korea, into using its leverage to rein in the North, experts noted.