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18 Junio 2017, 04:24 | Crisanna Felipe
North Korea missile launch
South Korea's military says the launch appears to be barrage of land-to-ship missiles fired off North's east coast.
North Korea launched a series of what appeared to be "surface-to-ship" cruise missiles today, South Korea's defence ministry said, in what would be the latest in a string of tests in defiance of United Nations sanctions.
The official added that the South Korean government had assured the USA that it would not revert from its previous commitments regarding the missile defense system, and that the United States had given South Korea the same assurances.
North Korea's previous ballistic missile firing was at the end of May when the regime of Kim Jong-un has alleged that its had been a successful test of a precision-guided system as it was known to be in pursuit of developing an "aircraft carrier killer", i.e.an anti-ship ballistic missile.
Last week the UN Security Council sharpened its sanctions against Pyongyang after a series of recent missile launches, which contravene UN resolutions.
North Korean state media made no mention of the reported launches Thursday, but earlier warned Japan not to "gamble on its destiny".
All five permanent members of the Security Council have said that no major new sanctions will be imposed as a result of the continuous testing of missiles; a Security Council diplomat said today that it would take a nuclear test to up the ante on sanctions, and even then, China might be reluctant to squeeze North Korea too hard, Falk adds.
Bolivian Ambassador Sacha Sergio Llorenty Soliz, noting that no country has called for a council meeting "so far", stressed that only Pyongyang's ballistic missile launches and nuclear tests are banned by the United Nations and could trigger sanctions.
"We'll be conducting more missile tests on a weekly, monthly and yearly basis", Vice Foreign Minister Han Song Ryol said at the time.
Last month, North Korea premiered a powerful new midrange missile that outside experts said flew higher than any other missile previously tested by North Korea.
Meanwhile, South Korea yesterday said it had found what appears to be a North Korean drone equipped with a camera on a mountain near its border with the North.
A senior official from the presidential Blue House in Seoul said Wednesday that the two launchers of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system that had been installed could remain but that four launchers yet to be placed would not be set up until the administration completed an environmental assessment.
The North does not have an ICBM that can carry a nuclear warhead, as far as we know.
Pyongyang has recently launched different types of missiles, including a new intermediate-range ballistic missile and a surface-to-air missile. China has taken retaliatory economic measures against Seoul, including curtailing the flow of Chinese tourists and punishing South Korean companies in China.
The Japanese government also confirmed the missile launches, according to the Kyodo news agency.
Shortly afterwards, on May 30, the USA conducted its first ever test of a Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) interceptor with a capacity to shoot down intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM), that Washington said was planned "years in advance". "Also, the regime could be trying to gain leverage against the USA and South Korea".
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