North Korea missile launches getting serious, US official says

April 24, 2016 8:00 pm

The underwater test-fire of a strategic submarine ballistic missile at an undisclosed location in , April 23, 2016. (AFP photo)

North ’s recent test of a submarine-launched ballistic missile indicates that Pyongyang is “getting very serious” with its missile program, says a official.
“North Korea’s sub launch capability has gone from a joke to something very serious,” an unnamed US official was quoted as saying by CNN on Sunday. “The US is watching this very closely.”
The comments came shortly after North Korea announced the “successful” test, boasting of its growing ability to target the US and South Korea with a “dagger of destruction.”
The North says it has conducted a number of successful submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) tests.
Washington also slammed the test, warning Pyongyang that such activities go against resolutions by the UN Security Council.
“We closely monitor North Korean activities and the situation on the Korean peninsula, especially North Korean military activities,” US State Department spokesman John Kirby said in a statement.
“Launches using ballistic missile technology are a clear violation of multiple UN Security Council resolutions. We call on North Korea to refrain from actions that further destabilize the region and focus instead on taking concrete steps toward fulfilling its commitments and international obligations,” he added.
The US and China pioneered tougher sanctions against North Korea following its fourth nuclear test in January and a ballistic missile launch the next month.
The country threatened the US with a nuclear strike last month upon more US provocations.
Pyongyang accuses the US of plotting with regional allies to topple its government, saying it will not relinquish its nuclear deterrence unless Washington ends its hostile policy toward Pyongyang and dissolves the US-led UN command in South Korea.
Another ‘failed’ test
Meanwhile, the South Korean Defense Ministry announced earlier Sunday that North’s submarine-launched ballistic missile failed after flying 30 kilometers (18 miles) in the Sea of Japan.
If true, this is much shorter than the average range of submarine-launched missiles as they can fly a typical distance of at least 300 kilometers (186 miles).
Pyongyang’s last submarine-launch of a ballistic missile, which took place on December 25, was also a failure, according to the South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff.
North Korea’s Foreign Minister Ri Su Yong told the Associated Press on Sunday that his country would halt its nuclear tests if the US ends its annual military exercises with the South.
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