The Latest: Seoul: New ICBM has range to reach Washington
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — The Latest on the global response to North Korea’s latest missile launch (all times local):
South Korea’s military says North Korea’s new intercontinental ballistic missile is potentially capable of striking targets as far as 13,000 kilometers (8,100 miles) away when fired at an operational angle, which would put Washington within reach.
Seoul’s Defense Ministry told South Korean lawmakers on Friday that it was unclear how close the Hwasong-15 was to being combat ready.
The ministry says further reviews are needed to determine whether the missile’s warhead would survive atmospheric re-entry, be accurately guided to the target and detonate properly.
The ministry’s assessment is similar to most private analyses that followed North Korea’s flight test of the missile Wednesday and release of photographs and video of the launch on Thursday.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in has told President Donald Trump that North Korea still has technological challenges to clear before obtaining a legitimate intercontinental ballistic missile that could viably target the U.S. mainland.
Seoul’s presidential office said Friday that Moon in an hourlong phone call with Trump shared South Korea’s assessment that the North still needs to perfect skills for miniaturizing nuclear weapons so that they could fit on their ICBMs and ensuring that the warheads withstand atmospheric re-entry.
Moon’s office says he told Trump the test of the new Hwasong-15 does represent a jump in North Korea’s missile technologies and that stronger international efforts should be made to stop further advancements.
Moon’s office says the leaders reaffirmed their commitment to strengthen pressure and sanctions on Pyongyang to discourage its nuclear ambitions.
Germany’s foreign minister says he’s recalling a diplomat from North Korea in protest of the country’s latest missile test.
The dpa news agency reported Thursday that Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said during a visit to Washington that he was recalling a diplomat from the German embassy in Pyongyang, though not the German ambassador.
Further details were not immediately available.
North Korea tested an intercontinental ballistic missile early Wednesday that was considered its most powerful yet.
The U.S. has pushed for other countries to cut all diplomatic and economic ties to North Korea to isolate the regime and pressure it to retreat on its weapons development.
Russia says it opposes a U.S. push for further isolation of North Korea after its recent missile test.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Thursday that the possibilities of pressuring North Korea with more sanctions have been exhausted. He deplored the U.S. refusal to engage in talks with North Korea and noted that a series of military drills by the U.S. and its allies in the region fueled tensions.
Lavrov referred to comments by the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, who warned that the North Korean missile test “brings us closer” to a war the U.S. isn’t seeking.
He said “the Americans need to explain to us all what they want: If they want to find a pretext for destroying North Korea ... they should say it openly.”
Russia has condemned North Korea’s missile and nuclear tests and urged the U.S. and its allies to freeze their military drills and engage in talks with the North to help end the standoff.
Russia’s U.N. ambassador is strongly urging North Korea to stop its nuclear and missile tests and calling on the U.S. and South Korea to cancel large-scale military maneuvers scheduled for December, warning that these drills “will only inflame an already explosive situation.”
Vassily Nebenzia told an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday that Russia is “deeply disappointed” at North Korea’s long-range ballistic missile launch Tuesday, stressing that Moscow doesn’t support Pyongyang “becoming a nuclear power.”
He says Russia is strongly calling on all parties to stop the “spiral of tension.”
Nebenzia says Russia believes the only way to resolve the situation is through “tireless and diplomatic efforts” to find “a long-term and mutually acceptable solution.”
8:55 a.m. Thursday
China’s deputy U.N. ambassador says the top priority on the Korean Peninsula in view of the current “grave situation” is for all parties to exercise restraint, implement U.N. sanctions “and strive for the early resumption of dialogue and negotiations.”
Wu Haitao said at an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday that the recent stable period on the peninsula provided a window of opportunity for diplomatic efforts. But, he says, “Regrettably, this window failed to lead to a resumption of dialogue and negotiations.”
He reiterated the China-Russia proposal for North Korea to suspend all nuclear and missile tests and the U.S. and South Korea to suspend all military exercises. He says, “We hope it will elicit a response and support.”
U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley says North Korea’s ballistic missile launch “brings us closer to war” that the U.S. doesn’t seek.
She told an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday that if war comes as a result of further acts of “aggression” like the latest launch “make no mistake the North Korean regime will be utterly destroyed.”
Haley says the Trump administration warned North Korea that its future is in the hands of its leaders and the choice was theirs.
With Tuesday’s launch, she said, Kim Jong Un’s regime made a choice — “and with this choice comes a critical choice for the rest of the world.”
She called on all countries to cut all ties to North Korea.
President Donald Trump can’t resist taking a dig at North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, even when selling tax reform.
After calling the Republican tax plan “rocket fuel” for the American economy, Trump digressed with an aside on “Little Rocket Man,” calling Kim “a sick puppy.”
Trump drew hoots from the crowd during a tax reform speech in St. Charles, Missouri, with the impromptu shot at Kim a day after the North launched its most powerful missile yet.
Earlier Wednesday, Trump threatened additional sanctions against the North over its continued nuclear missile development.
France’s U.N. Ambassador Francois Delattre (fran-SWAH’ deh-LAH’-trah) says the North Korean threat has changed dramatically over a few months to being global and immediate and France wants tougher sanctions to maximize pressure on Kim Jong Un’s regime.
Delattre told reporters Wednesday ahead of an emergency Security Council meeting on North Korea’s latest ballistic missile test that the scope and scale of the North’s nuclear threat has moved from being regional and “potential.”
He says, “Weakness or ambiguity are simply not an option.”
Delattre says that’s why France is calling for intensified efforts to strictly implement existing sanctions and additional sanctions.
Delattre says, “Maximum firmness today is our best antidote to the risk of war and our best tool to promote a political solution.”
Japan’s U.N. Ambassador Koro Bessho says the international community must “keep the pressure up so that North Koreans will understand that they need to change their course.”
Bessho spoke to reporters Wednesday ahead of an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council called by the United States, Japan and South Korea following North Korea’s launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile.
France’s U.N. Ambassador Francois Delattre said full implementation and tightening of sanctions are “key priorities for France but also for others.”
Tightening sanctions would require a new Security Council resolution.
Sweden’s deputy U.N. ambassador Carl Skau reiterated his country’s strong condemnation of the launch and said “it’s important that the council speaks with one voice on this issue.”
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says the United States may target additional financial institutions with sanctions following North Korea’s latest intercontinental missile launch.
Tillerson spoke in Washington on Wednesday during a meeting with the visiting crown prince of Bahrain. He said the U.S. has a “long list of additional potential sanctions.”
Tillerson didn’t specify what financial institutions could be hit with sanctions. But he said the United States will be announcing the sanctions once they’re “ready to roll out.” His comments came after President Donald Trump announced on Twitter that more sanctions were coming.
Tillerson said he’s not giving up on diplomatic efforts to resolve concerns about North Korea’s nuclear weapons program peacefully. He said “we keep working at it every day.”
North Korea said the missile it launched early Wednesday can carry a large nuclear warhead and has “significantly more” power than missiles it’s tested earlier.