Hero's welcome in Pyongyang for North's missile developers
Hero's welcome in Pyongyang for North's missile developers
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20 May, 2017, 00:04
The South, which hosts 28,500 USA troops, said earlier Wednesday that it wanted to reopen a channel of dialogue with North Korea as Moon seeks a two-track policy, involving sanctions and dialogue, with its rogue neighbor.
North Korea test-launched a missile on Sunday that many experts believe could be its most advanced yet, flying higher and longer than any previous missile.
But there are questions over whether Pyongyang can miniaturise a nuclear weapon sufficiently to fit it onto a missile nose cone, or has mastered the re-entry technology needed to ensure it survives returning into Earth's atmosphere.
Admiral Harry Harris Jr, who is in charge of the United States Pacific Command based in Hawaii, said on Wednesday (17 May) that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was inching closer to developing a nuclear warhead capable of striking any country.
Hong Seok-hyun, a special envoy to Washington for South Korean President Moon Jae-in, told media that Secretary Tillerson wanted Pyongyang to understand that the USA would not engage in hostility against the country.
China has been infuriated by the USA deployment of the THAAD system in South Korea, saying it was a threat to its security and would do nothing to ease tensions with Pyongyang.
Weighing on the latest missile test while in Beijing on Sunday, Russian President Vladimir Putin urged all parties, including those whom he said are "intimidating" North Korea, to drop their alarmist rhetoric and stop saber-rattling, and instead focus on a diplomatic solution to the crisis.
He is quoted as saying that South Korea had not yet received official word from the United States on whether Seoul should pay for USA missile defense THAAD.
"We would see government reports and comments, but at the same time, we see the whole event from the position of Chinese", Wang said.
The North has vowed to develop a missile mounted with a nuclear warhead that can strike the mainland United States.
North Korean officials accused the USA of pressuring other countries into severing or degrading diplomatic ties with it by misusing "sanction resolutions" against it. North Korea is not as closed off from the world as some might think, but it has very few trade partners. South Korean businesses have faced boycotts, especially the retail group Lotte which provided the land on which the system is being constructed.
Even though during his presidential campaign Moon Jae-in advocated a more moderate approach towards North Korea, he has also said that Pyongyang must slow down its weapon development before South Korea could pursue any meaningful dialogue with it.
Speaking to Lee, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said there had been some "undeserved setbacks" in relations this year, in apparent reference to THAAD.
Such moves underscore a willingness on the part of China's Communist Party leaders to fan the flames of anti-South Korea sentiment, said Korea expert Sung-Yoon Lee of Tufts University in MA. That means the Trump administration has eased its conditions for dialogue from "abandoning all nuclear programs" to a freezing of them.
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