Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
. 24/7 Space News .

Subscribe to our free daily newsletters

N. Korea takes leap with missile test: analysts
By Hwang Sunghee
Seoul (AFP) May 16, 2017

North Korea's latest missile launch represents a significant step forward in its weapons capabilities, analysts say, but Pyongyang could be looking to secure a position of strength before a return to the negotiating table.

The intermediate-range missile fired by the North at the weekend, named the Hwasong-12, was its longest-range rocket yet, analysts say.

It was its 10th launch this year, after dozens in 2016, as it accelerates efforts to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of delivering a nuclear warhead to the continental United States -- something President Donald Trump has vowed "won't happen".

Leader "Kim Jong-Un has stepped up testing compared to his father and grandfather, and it is starting to pay off," Melissa Hanham of the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in California told AFP. "This is a clear indication of progress."

Pyongyang has long had missiles that can reach targets across the South -- the 500 kilometre Scud -- and Japan, the 1,000-1,300 kilometre Rodong.

But with an imputed range of 4,500 kilometres the Hwasong-12 puts US bases on the Pacific island of Guam within reach.

More significantly, the new missile could be a stepping stone to a properly working ICBM -- which would fundamentally change assessments of the threat posed by Pyongyang.

"This is not that missile but it might be a testbed, demonstrating technologies and systems to be used in future ICBMs," wrote aerospace engineering specialist John Schilling, adding that it could represent the first two stages of such a device.

Pyongyang "may be closer to an operational ICBM than had been previously estimated", he said on the respected 38 North website.

A functional ICBM would need a nuclear warhead that can be mounted on to a missile.

The North's official Korean Central News Agency claimed the latest test had proved its guidance and re-entry technologies, and said the rocket was "capable of carrying a large-size heavy nuclear warhead".

It was "plausible that they have made a compact warhead after five nuclear tests", Hanham told AFP, but KCNA's phrasing was "interesting but vague".

"It's really hard to take their claims seriously without verification from other governments," she added.

- The bigger they are... -

The launch came just four days after the inauguration of South Korea's new left-leaning President Moon Jae-In, who advocates reconciliation and dialogue with Pyongyang to curb its nuclear ambitions.

Moon was part of the South's last liberal government nearly a decade ago, which pursued a "Sunshine policy" of engagement with the North, and declared at his swearing-in that he would go to Pyongyang "in the right circumstances".

Instead, said Koo Kab-Woo of Seoul's University of North Korean Studies, he had been posed "an extremely difficult question" by the launch.

"Under the current circumstances, it's very hard" to hold any talks with the North, Koo said.

But the timing of the launch so close to Moon's installation was largely coincidental, he said. "They are just going their way consistently towards the goal of attaining nuclear deterrence capability."

Moon slammed the launch as a "reckless provocation" saying that dialogue would be possible "only if Pyongyang changes its behaviour".

The North "strongly wants to talk with Washington", Koo said, as expressed by a senior North Korean official following a meeting with former US officials in Oslo, Norway.

That remark came just two weeks after President Donald Trump said he would be "honoured" to meet Kim, after their tit-for-tat sabre-rattling raised tensions in the region.

Pyongyang insists it needs nuclear weapons to defend against the threat of invasion by the US, and shows no indication of any willingness to give them up, whatever concessions are offered.

The North's young leader is more focused on presenting Pyongyang to Washington and Beijing as their equals, equipped with weapons as devastating as their own, said Choi Kang of the Asan Institute for Policy Studies in Seoul.

"The bigger you are, the bigger the advantage you will have over negotiations. Otherwise, you will be looked down on," he told AFP.

"In the Kim Jong-Il era, North Korea launched missiles to get Washington's attention," he said. "But now it's different."

N. Korea says 'new missile' can carry nuclear warhead
Seoul (AFP) May 15, 2017
North Korea Monday celebrated the launch of what appeared to be its longest-range ballistic missile yet tested in a bid to bring the US mainland within reach, saying it was capable of carrying a "heavy nuclear warhead". Leader Kim Jong-Un personally oversaw the test on Sunday, the official Korea Central News Agency (KCNA) said, and pictures by state media showed him gazing at the missile in ... read more

Related Links
Learn about nuclear weapons doctrine and defense at
Learn about missile defense at
All about missiles at
Learn about the Superpowers of the 21st Century at

Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once

credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly

paypal only

Comment using your Disqus, Facebook, Google or Twitter login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Older Americans warm to new technology: survey

Six-legged livestock - sustainable food production

External commercial ISS platform starts second mission

NASA Receives Proposals for Future Solar System Mission

Sky Skimmer: Rocket Lab Sets Date for Lightweight Spacecraft Test Launch

ISRO to Launch GSLV Mark III, Its Heaviest Rocket Soon

Washington Still Has No Engine to Replace Russian-Made RD-180

SpaceX launches Inmarsat communications satellite

Opportunity Reaches 'Perseverance Valley'

Ancient Mars impacts created tornado-like winds that scoured surface

Seasonal Flows in Valles Marineris

NASA Rover Curiosity Samples Active Linear Dune on Mars

A cabin on the moon? China hones the lunar lifestyle

China tests 'Lunar Palace' as it eyes moon mission

China to conduct several manned space flights around 2020

Reach for the Stars: China Plans to Ramp Up Space Flight Activity

Allied Minds' portfolio company BridgeSat raises $6 million in Series A financing

AIA report outlines policies needed to boost the US Space Industry competitiveness

Blue Sky Network Targets Key Markets For Iridium SATCOM Solutions

How Outsourcing Your Satellite Related Services Saves You Time and Money

HP Enterprise unveils computer 'for era of Big Data'

"Airbus Friedrichshafen: new satellite hub lays groundwork for the future"

Entropy landscape sheds light on quantum mystery

'Hot' electrons don't mind the gap

New study sheds light on origins of life on Earth through molecular function

Metabolism, not RNA, jump-started life's molecular beginnings

Primitive Atmosphere Found Around 'Warm Neptune'

Oldest evidence of life on land found in 3.48-billion-year-old Australian rocks

Waves of lava seen in Io's largest volcanic crater

Not So Great Anymore: Jupiter's Red Spot Shrinks to Smallest Size Ever

The PI's Perspective: No Sleeping Back on Earth!

ALMA investigates 'DeeDee,' a distant, dim member of our solar system

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement