DPRK test-fires 1st ballistic missile since U.S. President Trump takes office

CNC
Added On February 12, 2017

SEOUL, Feb. 12 (Xinhua) -- The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) fired what is believed to be a ballistic missile into its eastern waters early Sunday, South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said.

The presumed intermediate-range Musudan ballistic missile was launched at around 7:55 a.m. local time (2255 GMT Saturday) near Banghyeon in the DPRK's northwestern North Pyongan province.

The projectile is estimated to have traveled about 500 km, according to the JCS. It landed in waters off the DPRK's east coast, according to local media reports.

Pyongyang test-fired Musudan missiles near the same place, where an airfield is located, in October last year.

It was the DPRK's first test-launch of a ballistic missile in 2017 and also the first since U.S. President Donald Trump took office on Jan. 20.

South Korea's military said Pyongyang's launch of ballistic missile was a provocative act in violation of UN Security Council's resolutions, which ban the DPRK from testing any ballistic missile technology.

The launch, the military believed, was aimed at drawing attention by showing off its nuclear and missile capability and was also part of armed protest against the Trump administration's hard-line stance toward the DPRK.

Yonhap news agency quoted a military source as saying that Sunday's test-launch was not of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

Concerns had persisted about the DPRK's ICBM test-launch following its fifth nuclear test in September last year. Pyongyang test-fired a long-range ballistic rocket in February last year, about a month after detonating its fourth atomic bomb.

Pyongyang had test-fired Musudan missiles eight times between April 15 and Oct. 20 in 2016. Except for the June 22 success at which the missile traveled about 500 km, all of other launches failed.

Musudan has a range of 3,000-4,000 km that can put the entire Japan and the U.S. military base in Guam in its target range.

South Korea's presidential office Cheong Wa Dae convened a national security council (NSC) meeting, which was chaired by top presidential security advisor Kim Kwan-jin.

The meeting was chaired by the top security advisor as President Park Geun-hye was suspended following a Dec. 9 impeachment that was passed in the parliament.

Attending the NSC emergency meeting were ministers of defense, unification and foreign affairs as well as head of spy agency and senior presidential secretary for security and foreign affairs.