North Korea’s latest missile launch ‘a complex message’

2017-04-30 06:02
The launch of a surface-to-surface medium long-range ballistic missile Pukguksong-2 at an undisclosed location. (STR, KCNA via KNS, AFP)

The launch of a surface-to-surface medium long-range ballistic missile Pukguksong-2 at an undisclosed location. (STR, KCNA via KNS, AFP)

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Seoul - North Korea test-fired a ballistic missile on Saturday, defying warnings from the US and the reclusive state’s main ally, China, which have tried for years to rein in its arms programmes.

According to the South Korean and US militaries, the test, from an area north of the North Korean capital, appeared to have failed.

The timing of the launch suggested a complex North Korean message to the world, said Kim Dong-yub, an expert at Kyungnam University’s Institute of Far Eastern Studies in Seoul.

“It was planned at a complicated timing around the end of the South Korea-US joint military drills since the beginning of March that conclude at the end of April, the US talking about military options and the announcement of North Korea policies and the UN Security Council meeting.”

Kim said North Korea might have got the data it wanted with the missile’s short flight, then blown it up in a bid to limit the anger of China, which disapproves of North Korea’s weapons programmes and has warned it against further provocation.

The test came as US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson warned the UN Security Council that failure to curb North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programmes could lead to “catastrophic consequences”.

Al Jazeera’s Wayne Hay, reporting from Seoul, said: “It is also possibly a clue that this was a medium-range missile.”– Al Jazeera and news agencies

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