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Kim Jong-Un declares submarine-launched missile test 'greatest success'; UN condemns launch

Kim said the latest launch proved the North had joined the 'front rank of the military powers fully equipped with nuclear attack capability' Photograph: (Reuters)

WION Seoul, South Korea Aug 25, 2016, 05.26 AM (IST)
North Korea leader Kim Jong-Un has declared a submarine-launched missile test the "greatest success", state media reported today, even as the UN weighed a condemnation of the launch which appears to be an advancement in Pyongyang's nuclear strike capability.

The US mainland and the Pacific are now "within the striking range" of the North Korean army, the official news agency reported Kim as saying.

The missile was test-fired from a submarine submerged off the northeastern port of Sinpo on Wednesday, according to South Korea's military. It flew round 300 miles towards Japan, exceeding any previous sub-launched tests.

The UN Security Council met on Wednesday to discuss this latest provocative move and agreed to consider a statement condemning the launch.

"There was a general sense of condemnation by most members of the council and therefore we will have to see how we would then be phrasing the press statement," said Ramlan bin Ibrahim from Malaysia, which currently holds the council's presidency.
 
Current UN resolutions prohibit North Korea from any use of ballistic missile technology, but Pyongyang has continued to carry out numerous launches following its fourth nuclear test in January.

However, according to media reports, diplomats expected further haggling with China, Pyongyang's main ally, over the wording.

Earlier this month, North Korea fired a land-launched ballistic missile directly into Japanese-controlled waters for the first time, that followed an outraged response from Tokyo.

But the Security Council failed to condemn the move after China sought to include language in a statement opposing the THAAD missile defence system that the United States plans to deploy in South Korea.

Kim said the latest launch proved the North had joined the "front rank of the military powers fully equipped with nuclear attack capability". 

According to reports, Pyongyang's top newspaper Rodong Sinmun carried 24 photos of him observing the launch, including one with his hands on his waist laughing at an observation post, and other watching through a pair of binoculars. 

"I do not guess what ridiculous remarks the US and its followers will make about this test-fire, but I can say their rash acts will only precipitate their self-destruction," he was quoted as saying. 

South Korea's Yonhap news agency cited a military source as saying Wednesday's launch had been made at an acute angle to limit the missile's range.

The US-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University said on its website, 38 North, that Pyongyang still faces significant technological challenges including building a new class of submarine to carry the missile.

But the North is "on track to the capability to strike targets in the region, including Japan, by 2020", it said.

Current UN resolutions prohibit North Korea from any use of ballistic missile technology, but Pyongyang has continued to carry out numerous launches following its fourth nuclear test in January.

(With inputs from AFP)
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