Donald Trump calls for stronger sanctions on North Korea after missile
The US president also sought to provoke a response out of Moscow by saying the projectile landed closer to Russia than Japan, the usual target of Pyongyang’s belligerence.Updated: May 14, 2017 22:29 IST
US President Donald Trump has called for tougher sanctions against North Korea after it tested an intermediate range ballistic missile on Sunday. He also sought to provoke a response out of Moscow by saying the projectile landed closer to Russia than Japan, the usual target of Pyongyang’s belligerence.
The missile travelled farther than any tested successfully by North Korea and was the first after the election of a new president in South Korea, Moon Jae-in, who has favoured engagement with Pyongyang and has said he is willing to travel there if circumstances are right.
It rose to a height of about 1,240 miles, according to the Japanese defence ministry, and between 435 and 500 miles from the launch site. Experts told The Wall Street Journal that if launched at the conventional angle, it could have travelled 2,800 miles, far enough to reach a US military base in Guam.
But it was Russia that the president had in mind, as the White House statement showed: “With the missile impacting so close to Russian soil – in fact, closer to Russia than to Japan – the President cannot imagine that Russia is pleased.”
The statement went on to reiterate America’s “ironclad commitment to stand with our allies in the face of the serious threat posed by North Korea” and call for “all nations to implement far stronger sanctions against North Korea”.
The reference to Russia was seen as an attempt to manipulate Moscow to say or do more, in continuation with Trump’s effort to first outsource the problem with North Korea to its strongest ally and patron China. Trump has said he would like Beijing to use its “considerable influence” over North Korea to deal with Kim Jong-Un, adding, as a possible motivator the threat of United States prepared to act unilaterally if needed.
The Russian defence ministry said in a statement that the North Korean missile “didn’t pose any danger” to Russia, according to the Russian news agency Interfax, as it landed a “significant” distance from the coast.
The ministry said in the statement the early warning system had tracked the “ballistic target” “for 23 minutes before it fell into the central part of the Sea of Japan, some 500 km (about 315 miles) from the territory of Russia”.
But it did come up for a detailed discussion in Russian president Vladimir Putin’s conversation with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping on the sidelines of Beijing’s “One Belt One Road” international meet.
Russia is a member of the six-nation forum established in 2003 to persuade Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons; the other members are South Korea, North Korea, China, Japan and the United States. The talks were discontinued n 2009.
First Published: May 14, 2017 09:51 IST