The Kim regime has welcomed the new ROK president the way they typically do by conducting a provocation:
North Korea fires a medium-range ballistic missile in February in this file photo. (For Use Only in the Republic of Korea. No Redistribution) (KCNA-Yonhap)
North Korea launched a ballistic missile Sunday morning from a site north of Pyongyang, South Korea’s military said, as President Moon Jae-in immediately convened an emergency meeting of the National Security Council (NSC) to discuss the issue.
“North Korea fired an unidentified missile at around 5:27 a.m. today from an area in the vicinity of Kusong, North Pyongan Province,” the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said in a statement
The projectile flew some 700 kilometers, it said, adding it’s analyzing more details.
The flight distance suggests a success of the missile test, the North’s first military provocation since the inauguration of Moon last week. [Yonhap]
The type of ballistic missile has not been disclosed yet, but PACOM has already said that it was not an ICBM. However, the Japanese are calling this the highest fired missile they have seen yet from North Korea:
Japan’s Defense Ministry said the missile flew for about 30 minutes, reaching an altitude of more than 2,000 kilometers and was believed to have traveled some 800 kilometers before falling about 400 kilometers outside of Japan’s exclusive economic zone, according to the Japan Times.
Japanese Defense Minister Tomomi Inada was quoted as saying that the launch, which was likely conducted at a steep or “lofted” trajectory, could be of a “new type of ballistic missile.” It hit the highest-ever altitude recorded by Japan’s defense authority for a North Korean missile. [Joong Ang Ilbo]
At least one scientist thinks this is a new type of missile that has been tested:
“I don’t believe the missile test Sunday involved existing models, such Pukguksong-2 or Scud-ER, considering its flight distance was about 700 kilometers,” said Kim Dong-yup, a professor at the Institute for Far East Studies of Kyungnam University. “The test appears to be aimed at developing a new type of missile with an improved performance.”
David Wright, co-director of the Global Security Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists, told the Associated Press that Sunday’s launch may have been of a new mobile, two-stage liquid-fueled missile that North Korea displayed during an April 15 military parade to mark that 105th anniversary of the birth of its founder Kim Il-sung
Wright estimated that the missile had a range of 4,500 kilometers if it travelled on a standard, instead of lofted, trajectory. [Korea Times]
If the range of this missile is 4,500 kilometers that means it is not designed to strike South Korea or Japan which it already has SCUD and Nodong missiles to hit these two countries with. Instead the only reason to develop a missile with this range would be to strike Guam which would be within its 4,500 kilometer maximum range since it is roughly 3,300 kilometers from North Korea:
This test may be a response to the fact that the USS Carl Vinson carrier strike group is supposed to be in the Sea of Japan (East Sea) conducting exercises.
In response to the provocation the Chinese are urging all parties to show the typical “restraint” they always seem to put out after a North Korean provocation. The United States is trying to play the Russians against the North Koreans after this test since the missile landed close to Russia:
Fox News reported that the White House said North Korea has been a “flagrant menace for far too long” and that Trump “cannot imagine that Russia is pleased” with the latest missile test because the missile landed closer to Russia than to Japan. U.S. National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster also condemned the launch in a 25-minute phone call with his South Korean counterpart Kim Kwan-jin and agreed to combine forces towards denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula. [Joong Ang Ilbo]
I doubt Putin really cares, and then in South Korea new President Moon Jae-in wants North Korea to change its attitude if it wants negotiations:
During his first NSC meeting at Cheong Wa Dae, President Moon strongly condemned the launch, saying, “It was an apparent violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions and also a serious challenge to peace and security on the Korean Peninsula as well as the international community.”
Moon said he found North Korea’s provocation regretful, citing that it came despite his speech to make full-pledged efforts to bring peace to the peninsula during his May 10 inauguration ceremony.
“I’m strongly warning North Korea, and at the same time, I find its reckless provocation deeply regretful.”
The president said he is open to resuming dialogue with North Korea, but added his government would deal sternly with the North’s provocations to ensure that the reclusive state does “not make a misjudgment.”
“We must show the North that dialogue will be possible only when it changes its attitude,” he said. [Korea Times]
Good luck with that since people have been waiting decades for North Korea to change its attitude. As this test proves, a new ROK President promising Sunshine Policy 2.0 is not going to change the nature of the Kim regime.