September 18, 2017 11:36
A North Korean missile that flew some 3,700 km over Japan last Friday morning was a Hwasong-12 intermediate-range ballistic missile. It was the first to be launched from a mobile launcher.
After watching the launch, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said efforts "for increasing combat power of Hwasong-12 has been realized," according to North Korean state media on Saturday. That suggests the missile is now ready for mass-production and deployment.
Back in May and August, the North fired the same missiles from a fixed launch pad. Experts believe the failure of eight launches of Musudan medium-range missiles in the past could be linked to their mobile launchers exploding.
"This suggests that the Hwasong-12 now has reliable functions after various stages of trial and error," a researcher with a government-funded think tank here said.
As the regime has boasted, it will now have the ability to fire missiles "anytime, anywhere" and it will be far more difficult for Seoul and Washington to monitor and track North Korean missiles.
Meanwhile, Pyongyang on Saturday condemned South Korea's "inconsistent" North Korea policy after Seoul decided to send US$8 million in humanitarian aid through international organizations.
State media quoted a spokesman of the North's National Reconciliation Council as saying Seoul's "dialogue and pressure" approach is "far-fetched sophistry" that is self-contradictory and unfeasible.
It added the approach is in fact no different from the conservative Lee Myung-bak and Park Geun-hye administrations' "confrontational" policy.
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