03:42 GMT05 August 2020
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    The ballistic missile North Korea successfully launched on Friday means that Pyongyang is dead serious about its intention to build a viable nuclear missile deterrent, political scientist Artym Lukin told Sputnik.

    “It is now clear that North Korea is on the way to building a nuclear missile potential and sooner or later it will have nuclear warhead able to fly far and reach the United States which Pyongyans considers to be as its main adversary. I’m not ruling out the possibility that North Korean missiles will eventually be able to hit Alaska or Hawaii,” Lukin said.

    The Russian Defense Ministry earlier said that the North Korean missile launched on Friday flew 732 kilometers (454 miles), reached an altitude of 681 kilometers (423 miles) and fell in the central part of the Sea of Japan.

    It was the first nighttime ballistic missile launch by North Korea. According to South Korean military sources, the missile flew about 1,000 kilometers (631 miles) reaching an altitude of 3,700 kilometers (2,300 miles).

    In an interview with Sputnik, Artyom Lukin said that the new North Korean missile is able to hit faraway targets, including those on the other side of the ocean.

    “If what Pyongyang says is anything to go by, the missiles reached a high altitude and flew longer and farther. This means that if launched along a different trajectory, it would have reached the United States,” he noted.

    He quoted US Secretary Rex Tillerson as saying being the only two major powers maintaining economic and political ties with North Korea, China and Russia are responsible for its behavior.

    “The US believes that China and Russia should bring pressure to bear on Pyongyang. However it looks like neither of them is going to do this. How can Russia possibly support US sanctions on North Korea now that Russia itself is under US sanctions?” the expert wondered.

    "I think that as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, Russia will hardly allow any tough sanctions against Pyongyang. The Americans are free to introduce unilateral sanctions, but we know from experience that one-sided sanctions don't work if they are not supported by China and Russia," Artyom Lukin concluded.

    North Korea’s Friday night launch was the second ICBM test in less than a month.

    On July 4, Pyongyang   announced it had successfully launched its first intercontinental ballistic missile, saying it traveled 580 miles and reached an altitude of 1,740 miles during its 39-minute flight before accurately hitting a targeted area in the Sea of Japan.

    The test immediately prompted sharp criticism from the international community.

    North Korea has been sharply criticized by the United States, South Korea and Japan for violating UN resolutions, while China has called for caution to prevent tensions from escalating.


    US, Seoul Conduct Ballistic Missile Test Following North Korea's Latest Launch
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    unilateral sanctions, missile launch, long-range, failure, pressure, UN Security Council, Russian Defense Ministry, Artyom Lukin, Democratic Republic of North Korea (DPRK), Russia
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