Nuclear-Obsessed World Leaders Will Be Nuclear-Obsessed World Leaders

North Korea tested another intermediate-range ballistic missile on Sunday, May 21. According to state-run news agency KCNA, it was overseen by leader Kim Jong-un, who “approved the deployment of this weapon system for action.” They also quoted him as proudly saying that “the missile’s rate of hits is very accurate and Pukguksong-2 is a successful strategic weapon.”

“South Korean and U.S. intelligence authorities believe North Korea has secured meaningful data in enhancing the credibility of its missile technology,” said Roh Jae-cheon, a spokesperson for South Korea’s Chiefs of Staff, adding that they will need to further verify whether the North has in fact developed functional re-entry technology.

The missile traveled 560 kilometres towards the sea of Japan; Japanese news agencies say it likely fell into the water. This is notably a shorter distance compared to the previous three tests.

Last week’s missile traveled 700 kilometres. North Korea claimed that it was a new type of rocket capable of carrying a large nuclear warhead.

On Saturday, they said that they are capable of hitting US mainland, and on Monday, added that Hawaii and Alaska are also within range.

Sunday’s missile test was the eighth this year, and already the second since May 9 when Moon Jae-in became South Korea’s new president. Moon campaigned on reversing the country’s previously strict policy of dealing with its northern neighbour which has been implemented for the past nine years, and advocated for engagement. He has already assigned people to reach out to Kim, and is also trying to restore the country’s relationship with China. China is North Korea’s main ally.

Early last week, the UN Security Council demanded that North Korea desist, saying that they need to “immediately [show] sincere commitment to denuclearization through concrete action.” The Council met again on Tuesday, as per the request of the US, South Korea, and Japan.

President Trump is currently on a nine-day foreign trip, but is aware of the situation. He has said previously that they will use any means to stop the North’s efforts to send nuclear warheads to North America. US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said they will continue applying economic and diplomatic pressure.

It is well-known that North Korea is developing nuclear weapons and missiles capable of delivering those weapons to target location. Both endeavors violate UN sanctions.

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