North Korean missiles might be in final stage of development

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North Korea’s state-controlled news agency reported Tuesday that the country’s latest ballistic missile test featured a new rocket equipped with a precision guidance system that only missed its target by seven meters.

If true, the accuracy claims point to a potentially significant advancement in the development of North Korean missiles. According to the Korean Central News Agency, leader Kim Jong-Un has ordered the continued development of more powerful strategic weapons.

“We can’t prove if it’s bluffing, but North Korea is basically saying it can hit the target right in the center, which is scary news for the U.S.,” said Kune Y. Suh, a professor at Seoul National University’s department of nuclear engineering. “If true, that means they’re in the final stage of missile development.”

The recently-fired missile first appeared at an April 15 military parade celebrating the birthday of North Korea’s founder Kim Il Sung. Aimed toward Japan, the missile flew 450 kilometers (280 miles), with the Japanese government reporting that it might have reached waters in the country’s exclusive economic zone.

The ninth missile test by North Korea in 2017 came two days after the Group of Seven nations vowed to “strengthen measures” which would convince North Korea to halt nuclear and ballistic missile testing.

KCNA reported that North Korea will not cave to pressure from the G-7.

“The G-7 summit is a place where those nuclear-and missile-haves put their heads together to discuss how to pressure weak countries and those incurring their displeasure,” the news agency said. “The U.S. and its followers are seriously mistaken if they think they can deprive the DPRK of its nuclear deterrence, the nation’s life and dignity, through sanctions and pressure,” KCNA said, using an abbreviation for North Korea.

President Trump, who has sought intervention from China, posted on Twitter that “North Korea has shown great disrespect for their neighbor, China, by shooting off yet another ballistic missile…but China is trying hard!”

China criticized the missile test, claiming that all sides should “ease tensions on the Korean Peninsula as soon as possible and bring the Peninsula issue back onto the right track of peaceful dialogue.”

 

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