Trump warns of 'dire consequences' for North Korea missile launch

Kristopher Drake
March 9, 2017

UNITED NATIONS Britain's U.N. envoy on Wednesday rejected a suggestion from China that military drills by the United States and South Korea were creating worldwide threats along the same lines as North Korea's nuclear and missile tests.

Reality Check verdict: The military threat from North Korea to its neighbours has increased, even if the technology used to launch the missiles might not be new.

South Korean experts say North Korea's extended-range Scuds and mid-range Rodong missiles are capable of hitting Japan, including US military bases in Okinawa.

The United States on Wednesday said "all options are on the table" to deal with North Korea and dismissed China's suggestion of a "dual suspension" of US and South Korea military drills and Pyongyang's missile and nuclear tests.

U.S. President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe discussed the launches during a phone call on Tuesday. "We can't say that the missiles' accuracy has improved, but it will be hard for Japanese defenses to hold up against simultaneous strikes", said Minoru Shibata, a former head of a Japan Defense Agency research group.

A THAAD deployment in South Korea was already in the works before North Korea's latest missile test, they added, noting the timeline for the system's presence in the former was not changed by the latter's experiments.

Pyongyang's missile programme has progressed over the last few decades from tactical rockets in the 1960s and 70s, to short-range and medium-range ballistic missiles in the 1980s and 90s.

According to the Japanese government's explanations, Abe stressed the importance of the deterrence concerning North Korea.

Last week North Korea's vice foreign minister Ri Kil-Song visited Beijing for discussions.

China's condemnation of South Korean plans to deploy THAAD has triggered protests against South Korean retail giant, Lotte, which agreed to provide one of its golf courses in southern South Korea as the site of THAAD.

The country is developing a long-range missile, which, if successfully launched and with its maximum estimated range, could put Australia and parts of the USA, among other countries, within range.

The analyst expressed doubt that deploying THAAD is the smartest move for both Washington and Seoul since the measure will most likely further complicate the already tense relations of the two allies with China. It held its most recent nuclear test last September.

Beijing also said the USA and South Korea should end the joint military drills that anger Pyongyang and seek talks instead.

The decision to deploy the US military's anti-missile defense system could worsen the fragile relationship between South Korea and China, Reuters reported. "We are not going to leave South Korea standing there with the threat of North Korea facing them and not help".

Other reports by Ligue1talk

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