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    The long-range strategic ballistic rocket Hwasong-12 (Mars-12) is launched during a test in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on May 15, 2017.

    Why North Korea's Latest Missile Launch Sparks Global Concern

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    North Korea claimed it successfully tested a new mid-range ballistic missile on Sunday. The rocket called Hwasong-12 was launched in the vicinity of Kusong, a city in North Pyongan province, flew about 700 kilometers and fell into the Sea of Japan.

    Pyongyang said that the missile test was conducted, taking into account the security of neighboring states. According to KCNA, the launched was aimed at "testing the tactical and technical capabilities of a missile of a new type, capable of carrying a large nuclear warhead."

    The agency also quoted North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, who one again warned the United States against provocative actions and threatened it with a "retaliation strike."

    North Korean leader Kim Jong Un inspects the long-range strategic ballistic rocket Hwasong-12 (Mars-12) in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on May 15, 2017.
    © REUTERS/ KCNA
    North Korean leader Kim Jong Un inspects the long-range strategic ballistic rocket Hwasong-12 (Mars-12) in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on May 15, 2017.

    According to Yonhap, Kim Jong-un personally supervised the launch of the Hwasong-12 surface-to-surface ballistic missile.

    North Korean leader Kim Jong Un reacts with members of the Korean People's Army scientists and engineers in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on May 15, 2017.
    © REUTERS/ KCNA
    North Korean leader Kim Jong Un reacts with members of the Korean People's Army scientists and engineers in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on May 15, 2017.

    The missile fell in the Sea of Japan, just 100 kilometers from the coast of the Primorye Region in Russia.

    North Korean leader Kim Jong Un inspects the long-range strategic ballistic rocket Hwasong-12 (Mars-12) in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on May 15, 2017.
    © REUTERS/ KCNA
    North Korean leader Kim Jong Un inspects the long-range strategic ballistic rocket Hwasong-12 (Mars-12) in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on May 15, 2017.

    According to a statement by the Russian Defense Ministry, the missile flew at a large distance and away from Russia’s territory.

    The long-range strategic ballistic rocket Hwasong-12 (Mars-12) is launched during a test in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on May 15, 2017.
    © REUTERS/ KCNA
    The long-range strategic ballistic rocket Hwasong-12 (Mars-12) is launched during a test in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on May 15, 2017.

    "The launch posed no threat to the security of the Russian Federation," the ministry said.

    At the time, Russian President Vladimir Putin was on an official visit to a forum in Beijing. Putin and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping expressed concern over Pyongyang’s missile tests. In turn, NATO called the launch a provocation. The Japanese government lodged a protest over the missile test.

    "They [Putin and Xi] had a detailed discussion on the situation on the Korean Peninsula. They expressed concern over the future developments and the current level of escalation, including the latest [missile] launch," Kremlin Spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said.

    According to Reuters, the UN Security Council will hold an emergency meeting to discuss the incident. Diplomatic sources told Reuters that the meeting was preliminarily scheduled for Tuesday, May 16. Resolutions previously adopted by the UNSC banned North Korea from any activities related to the development of nuclear weapons and delivery systems.

    It was also reported that on Sunday, representatives of North Korea and South Korea had a brief meeting on the sidelines of the New Silk Road forum in Beijing. As a result of the meeting, a South Korean lawmaker told journalists that, according to his impressions, Pyongyang is ready for an inter-Korean summit.

    At the same time, the new South Korean President Moon Jae-in has repeatedly said that dialogue with North Korea is possible only if Pyongyang changes its policy and makes concessions.

    United States Envoy to UN Nikki Haley told ABC that Pyongyang’s latest missile launch stemmed from Kim Jong-un’s "state of paranoia."

    She added that the US will continue to "tighten the screws" on North Korea with international pressure and possible new sanctions.

    Meanwhile, Japanese news agency Kyodo reported citing local authorities that a US naval airstrike carrier group led by the USS Ronald Raegan stationed at the Yokosuka Naval Base in Japan took to the sea on a long mission. The group comprises a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, a missile carrying cruiser and at least two missile destroyers. The group is being accompanied by a nuclear submarine.

    In mid-April, it was reported that the Pentagon sent a naval airstrike carrier group led by the USS Carl Vinson to the region, following the test launch of a North Korean ballistic missile. A Pukguksong-2 mid-range missile flew for 60 km and reached a maximum flight altitude of 189 km.

    At the time, Pyongyang claimed that the missile test was aimed at practicing potential strikes at US bases in Japan.

    In an April interview with The Wall Street Journal, Trump said that he asked the Chinese president to tell the North Korean leadership, that in addition to aircraft carriers, the US has nuclear submarines. Thus, the US president indicated Washington’s resoluteness towards the North Korean nuclear problem.

    Trump also said China could have trade preferences with the US if Beijing helps resolve the crisis.

    However, the White House press office did not publish details regarding the talks between Trump and Xi. According to the newspaper, an hourlong phone conversation took place on April 11.

     

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    missile launch, nuclear weapons, security, UN Security Council, Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping, Donald Trump, Kim Jong-un, China, United States, Russia, South Korea
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