N. Korean missile launch may be testing rivals, not technology

Author: APMon, 2017-05-29 03:00ID: 1496081275426219700SEOUL, South Korea: North Korea’s latest missile test Monday may have less to do with perfecting its weapons technology than with showing US and South Korean forces in the region that it can strike them at will.South Korean and Japanese officials said the suspected Scud-type short-range missile flew about 450 kilometers on Monday morning before landing in Japan’s maritime economic zone, setting off the usual round of condemnation from Washington and the North’s neighbors.It is the latest in a string of test launches by North Korea as it seeks to build nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missiles that can reach the US mainland, a drive that puts North Korea high on the list of foreign policy worries for Japan, Washington and Seoul.North Korea already has an arsenal of reliable short-range missiles. While North Korean scientists could be tweaking them — for instance, developing a new solid-fuel short-range missile — the North tests these shorter-range missiles much less than it does its less dependable, longer-range missiles.This sets up the possibility that North Korea hopes to use the test to show it can hit US targets near and far and emphasize its defiance of US-led pressure on its missile and nuclear programs, which has included vague threats from US President Donald Trump and the arrival in Korean waters of powerful US military hardware. Scuds are capable of striking US troops in South Korea, for instance, and the two newly developed missiles tested earlier this month have potential ranges that include Japan, Guam and even, according to some South Korean analysts, Alaska.
Main category: World

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