Sunday 22 October 2017

US weighs up options with China after latest missile test

Ballistic missiles being displayed through Kim Il-Sung square during a military parade in Pyongyang marking the 105th anniversary of the birth of late North Korean leader Kim Il-Sung. Photo: AFP Photo/KCNA via KNS/STR/South Korea
Ballistic missiles being displayed through Kim Il-Sung square during a military parade in Pyongyang marking the 105th anniversary of the birth of late North Korean leader Kim Il-Sung. Photo: AFP Photo/KCNA via KNS/STR/South Korea

Sue Lin Wong

The United States, its allies and China are working together on a range of responses to North Korea's latest attempted ballistic missile test, US President Donald Trump's national security adviser said yesterday, citing what he called an international consensus to act.

"We are working together with our allies and partners and with the Chinese leadership to develop a range of options," HR McMaster said on ABC's 'This Week'.

"This latest missile test just fits into a pattern of provocative and destabilising and threatening behaviour on the part of the North Korean regime," Mr McMaster said.

He said the president has asked the national security council to integrate the efforts of the Defence and State departments and US intelligence agencies to develop options if "this pattern of behaviour continues and if the North Korean regime refuses to denuclearize".

"There is an international consensus now, including the Chinese leadership, that this is a situation that just cannot continue," Mr McMaster said.

The North Korean missile "blew up almost immediately" after its test launch yesterday, the US Pacific Command said.

Hours later US Vice President Mike Pence landed in South Korea for talks on the North's increasingly defiant arms programme. His visit comes a day after North Korea held a grand military parade in its capital city of Pyongyang, marking the birth anniversary of the state founder. What appeared to be new long-range ballistic missiles were on display.

Tensions have been rising as Mr Trump takes a hard rhetorical line with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, who has rebuffed admonitions from China and proceeded with nuclear and missile programmes seen by Washington as a direct threat.

South Korea said the North's latest show of force "threatened the whole world".

But a US foreign policy adviser travelling with Mr Pence on Air Force Two sought to defuse some of the tension, saying the test of what was believed to be a medium-range missile had come as no surprise.

"We had good intelligence before the launch and good intelligence after the launch," the adviser told reporters on condition of anonymity.

"It's a failed test. It follows another failed test. So really no need to reinforce their failure. We don't need to expend any resources against that."

The adviser said the missile's flight lasted four or five seconds.

Mr Pence, addressing an Easter service with American troops in South Korea, said the US commitment to South Korea was unwavering.

"Our commitment to this historic alliance with the courageous people of South Korea has never been stronger."

Irish Independent

Editors Choice

Also in World News