Published: Mon, June 19, 2017
Economy | By Annette Adams

North Korea fires volley of cruise missiles, fifth test in a month

North Korea fires volley of cruise missiles, fifth test in a month

U.S. President Donald Trump has been pressing China aggressively to rein in North Korea, warning that all options, including a pre-emptive military strike, are on the table if Pyongyang persists with its nuclear and missile development.

US ally South Korea said on Wednesday it would hold off on installing remaining elements of the THAAD system, which China strongly objects to, until the environmental study was completed.

Meanwhile, South Korea suspended temporarily the further deployment of the advanced USA missile defense system known as THAAD over certain bureaucratic irregularities surrounding its installation.

The move could mean substantial delays in a full deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system in South Korea, as the review may take well over a year, according to a senior official at the presidential Blue House.

However, the European Union on Thursday broadened its sanctions against North Korea over its work on nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles.

KCNA said the weapon tested Thursday had been part of the military parade in Pyongyang on April 15 to mark the birthday of the North's founding father Kim Il-Sung. On May 29, a Scud-class missile believed to employ a precision guidance system was launched.

The North's official Korean Central News Agency said: "This new-type cruise rocket is a powerful attack means capable of striking any enemy group of battleships", adding it can be used "at will".

The North's projectiles were fired into waters between South Korea and Japan where US aircraft carriers USS Carl Vinson and USS Ronald Reagan participated in joint exercises with the South Korean navy that ended earlier this week.

South Korean observers said the missiles traveled about 125 miles before splashing down in waters between the Korean Peninsula and Japan, where the US aircraft carriers USS Carl Vinson and USS Ronald Reagan participated in joint exercises with the South Korean Navy that ended earlier this week.

Last month, North Korea debuted a new midrange missile that flew higher than missiles they previously tested, according to outside experts.

The North's missile tests present a hard challenge to Moon, a liberal elected last month who has expressed a desire to reach out to Pyongyang.

On Saturday, US Defence Secretary James Mattis said North Korea's nuclear weapons programme was a "threat to all" and called on China, Pyongyang's main ally, to take firmer action in reigning it in. The canisters appeared similar to North Korea's ship-based launchers for the KN-01.

The launch also defies efforts by Mr Moon to improve relations with the South and ease tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

North Korea has reliable short- and mid-range ballistic missiles, and its new intermediate-range ballistic missile has a range just short of an intercontinental ballistic missile and could comfortably hit Guam.

The new launch is the latest in its series of missile tests defying world pressure and threats of more sanctions.

North Korea conducted the test as US aircraft carriers began to exit the Sea of Japan after conducting exercises.

The isolated country, which has conducted dozens of missile tests and tested two nuclear bombs since the beginning of 2016 in defiance of U.N. Security Council resolutions, says the program is necessary to counter USA aggression.

North Korea's regime has claimed that its new rocket could deliver a "large heavy nuclear warhead" all the way to the USA mainland.

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