03:55 GMT +323 October 2019
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    People watch news report showing North Korea's Hwasong-14 missile launch on electronic screen at Pyongyang station, North Korea in this photo taken by Kyodo on July 29, 2017

    Tit-For-Tat: 'US Pushing Pyongyang Toward Accelerated Development of Nukes'

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    The US's policy on North Korea is prompting Pyongyang to accelerate the development of nuclear weapons and nuclear delivery vehicles, a Russian military expert told Sputnik.

    On Saturday, North Korea's state news agency KCNA reported that Pyongyang had successfully tested the re-entry component of its intercontinental ballistic (ICBM) missile program.

    According to KCNA, the ICBM soared for 47 minutes, 12 seconds and struck its intended area.

    The news agency added that the missile achieved an altitude of 3,724 kilometers.

    In terms of the missile's distance, North Korea's estimates line up with the Pentagon's calculations, which claimed that the missile traversed approximately 1,000 kilometers before landing in the Sea of Japan.

    While the Pentagon and Pyongyang claim the missile was of the "intercontinental" variety, the Russian Ministry of Defense said the missile was a medium-range ballistic missile "based on its technical characteristics."

    In an interview with Sputnik, Igor Korotchenko, a Russian military expert and editor-in-chief of the Natsionalnaya Oborona (National Defense) magazine, said that Washington's stance on North Korea is forcing the country to facilitate the development of nuclear weapons.

    "It is Washington which is responsible for the sharp acceleration of Pyongyang's nuclear missile program. Washington's provocations and promises to start a war against North Korea, as well as its permanent drills involving South Korea push North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un that North Korea to allocate more money for the creation of [nuclear] potential capable of protecting the country from American threats," Korotchenko said.

    According to him, another successful test of a ballistic missile by North Korea "shows that this is how Pyongyang reacts to US threats and sanctions."

    "The percentage of North Korea's successful launches is growing amid Pyongyang's efforts to create means capable of ensuring the sovereignty of North Korea," Korotchenko said referring to nuclear missiles.

    According to him, North Korea is dealing with the "miniaturization" of the nuclear charge so that it can be installed on warheads of intermediate and intercontinental ballistic missiles.

    "If this problem is resolved, we will [be able to] safely say that Pyongyang had actually worked out the delivery means," Korotchenko pointed out.

    He added that all this once again underscores the necessity of developing a diplomatic dialogue between the United States and North Korea.

    On July 4, North Korea 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.

    Following the launch, the Russian Defense Ministry disputed Pyongyang's claim, saying the missile's flight parameters indicated it reached an altitude of 535 kilometers (332 miles) and traveled 510 kilometers before falling in the central Sea of Japan.

    However, US officials claimed that Pyongyang had successfully launched an ICBM for the first time.

    Related:

    UK Condemns North Korea's Ballistic Missile Launch - Foreign Secretary
    South Korea Leader Mulls Unilateral Sanctions on North After Missile Test
    China Tells North Korea to Stick to UN Resolutions After New ICBM Test
    'Stern Warning': North Korea Says New Missile Tests Prove All US Is in Range
    Tags:
    missile program, provocations, drills, threats, efforts, war, sovereignty, Democratic Republic of North Korea (DPRK), United States
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