S.Korea finds apparent North Korean drone near border

19 June, 2017, 00:52 | Author: Malcolm Fuller

"The great success of test-firing an intercontinental ballistic missile, which we are sure to achieve, will mark a historic watershed moment in the failure of the USA hostile policy against us", North Korean state media claimed, asserting that a nuclear-armed long-range missile would guarantee a viable nuclear deterrence strategy.

On Friday, South Korea's military found a small flying object that it said was similar in shape and size to one of several North Korean drones discovered in 2014.

The reclusive state has ordered three ballistic missile launches, a surface-to-air missile, and now Thursday's cruise missile tests since the South Korea's President Moon Jae-in took power in early May.

While they aren't the ballistic missiles banned by the U.N. Security Council resolution, the South Korean government strongly condemned the test-firing as a grave provocation.

Britain's United Nations ambassador Matthew Rycroft condemned North Korea's "latest provocations" and said "we look forward to working with our council colleagues about the best way to respond to them".

In recent months, North Korea has been testing a variety of missiles at an unprecedented pace.

It is the fourth new missile system Pyongyang says it has introduced and successfully tested this year alone, sending a defiant message to its enemies that it will continue to pursue a weapons programme that has rattled its neighbours and Washington. They could, however, have applications in the event of a naval invasion from Japanese, South Korean, US or Chinese warships. The improved range indicates the North is pursuing weapons capable of reaching US aircraft carriers that operate from deeper positions, he said.

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South Korea's military says the missiles flew some 200 kilometres.

Moon said after the new launches that his government "won't back off even a single step and make any compromise" on the issue of national security.

The device would be the latest of several North Korean drones to have flown into the South, with which Pyongyang is technically at war after the Korean war ended in a truce, rather than a peace treaty, in 1953. The Joint Chiefs of Staff said a thorough investigation will be made of the object found south of the Demilitarized Zone that bisects the Koreas.

But still South Korea remain an obstacle to THAAD deployment. The two other fishermen, who wanted to return home, were repatriated on Friday.

However the expert pointed out that the greater threat is that North Korea has also developed miniaturized nuclear warheads that can be mounted not only on ICBMs but on most of its ballistic missiles.

The North's ramped-up pace of nuclear and missile tests have also stoked concern in Tokyo, prompting Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to characterize Pyongyang's weapons push as "a new level of threat".

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