North Korea test-fired most powerful missile since 2017

South Korean President Moon Jae-in said on Sunday that North Korea is getting closer to lifting its self-imposed moratorium on intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) testing, just days after the latter fired an intermediate-range ballistic missile.

Moon made the remarks while presiding over a plenary meeting of the National Security Council (NSC) for the first time in about a year, demonstrating how seriously he takes the launch of what is believed to be the North’s longest-range missile in recent years, according to Yonhap News Agency.

According to South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, the North’s missile flew about 800 kilometres at a top altitude of 2,000 kilometres.

According to the flight data, North Korea has tested-launched its longest-range missile since 2017.

The launch was also the North’s seventh display of force this month.

“North Korea has kept the moratorium on nuclear tests and ICBM launches so far while expressing a willingness for dialogue. But if it did fire an intermediate-range ballistic missile, we can consider they have moved closer to scrapping the moratorium,” Moon was quoted as saying during the meeting.

The President urged North Korea to stop inciting conflict and instead respond to international calls for dialogue.

He called the North’s latest launch “a challenge to denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula, and international community diplomatic efforts,” as well as an act that violated a UN Security Council resolution.

During the meeting, Moon stated that North Korea may repeat the situation that existed in 2017, when Pyongyang raised tensions by launching intermediate-range and intercontinental ballistic missiles.

Following the conclusion of the plenary meeting, National Security Adviser Suh Hoon convened a separate NSC meeting in which he condemned the North’s launch of an intermediate-range ballistic missile.

Since late 2017, North Korea has maintained a self-imposed moratorium on nuclear and ICBM testing.

North Korea has been ratcheting up tensions with a series of missile launches since the beginning of this year, as the US stepped up sanctions pressure amid stalled denuclearization talks between the two countries.

Pyongyang issued a thinly veiled threat on January 20 to lift its years-long moratorium on nuclear and long-range missile tests, sparking speculation that it would engage in more provocative actions in the future.

In January, North Korea launched the most projectiles in a single month since North Korean leader Kim Jong-un took power in late 2011.

It launched six projectiles between March and July of 2014.

Planet Today

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