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    The scene of the intermediate-range ballistic missile Pukguksong-2's launch test in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) May 22, 2017

    Military Milestone: All You Need to Know About the New North Korean Missile

    © REUTERS / KCNA
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    South Korean experts managed to establish the type of missile that the DPRK military launched on May 21. According to sources in the Defense Ministry of the Republic of Korea, it was a Pukykson-2 type missile. In the West, it is known as KN-15.

    According to the South Korean military, the munition was not intercontinental as the flight range was about 500 kilometers and the maximum height about 550 kilometers.

    “We believe that the missile fell 700 kilometers from the Oga Peninsula in Akita Prefecture and 400 kilometers from the Oka Islands in Shimane Prefecture,” the Defense Minister of Japan, Tomomi Inada, said Sunday, stressing that the drop was outside the Japanese economic zone.

    Cold Start

    According to many experts, the recent launch demonstrates that the missile is absolutely ready for military operation.

    “The launch of the missile was carried out with the help of a so-called cold start,” Yevgeny Kim, a leading researcher at the Institute of the Far East of the Russian Academy of Sciences, told RIA Novosti.

    “The ammunition from the launch canister was thrown out with a special knock-out charge and only then did the march engines start. This scheme saves fuel on board the missile and the gas jet from the engines does not damage the container. A ‘cold start’ is considered modern and quite a difficult technology to master,” Kim said.

    The expert also said that the launch was transmitted as a live broadcast from cameras installed on the missile at the command post.

    “Obviously, the DPRK missile program has made a serious breakthrough. We can say that the tests of the Pukykson-2 system have been successfully completed. This is further evidenced by two orders that were given by Kim Jong-un: to bring the missile into service and begin its mass production,” the expert said.

    He believes that in the near future there will be no further test launches of the missiles of this type in the DPRK.

    Vicious Circle

    On Monday, the Japanese newspaper Asahi revealed previously unknown details of Xi Jinping’s April visit to the United States.

    The publication reported that Jinping apparently asked Donald Trump for a 100-day delay on putting stringent measures on the DPRK in order to economically strangle North Korea.

    The US president earlier demanded to introduce stricter measures against the DPRK and also threatened to impose sanctions on Chinese enterprises and financial institutions that work with Pyongyang.

    Talking about this, Yevgeny Kim said that in the near future there will be serious talks taking place between China and North Korea.

    “China will, on the one hand, demand from its neighbor to behave with restraint, on the other hand it will try to reason with the US. China back in March proposed a compromise to the Americans: Pyongyang turns off its nuclear and missile tests and the US stops military exercises along with its allies on the borders of North Korea,” Kim said.

    According to the expert the US, however, refused such a proposition. Moreover, the aircraft carrier Carl Winson is still in the region. Another aircraft carrier, the Ronald Reagan, reportedly is moving towards the Korean Peninsula. That causes concern in Pyongyang.

    “As far as I know, in August, the largest naval maneuvers of the United States, Japan and South Korea are due to take place. So, one of the tasks of Chinese diplomacy at present is to achieve the cancellation of these exercises,” Kim said.

    The expert further stressed that it is possible that the tense situation in the region will continue to go round in a vicious circle. North Korea fears the growth of US military presence, so it demonstrates to the world the possibilities of its arsenal. The US and its allies see North Korea's missile launches as a threat to themselves, so they continue to transfer additional forces to the Korean peninsula.

    The expert believes that no one will agree to unilateral concessions: “The DPRK authorities must show their people that they are not afraid of external aggression and the US will not back off so as not to lose face and influence in the world.”

    Russia, in turn, urged both sides to show restraint.

    As deputy head of the Russian Foreign Ministry Sergey Ryabkov told reporters on Monday, the DPRK's missile tests do not contribute to solving the problem of denuclearization of the region.

    Last week, US President Donald Trump spoke with a special representative of the South Korean president about the readiness to work for peace on the Korean peninsula by reaching an agreement with the DPRK while observing certain conditions. However, he does not intend to “lead negotiations for the sake of negotiations.”

    What specific steps the US expects from the DPRK, Trump did not specify.

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    diplomacy, bilateral cooperation, military operation, interview, ballistic missile, Pukykson-2, Democratic Republic of North Korea (DPRK)
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