North Korea Current Affairs

North Korea claims successful test of its first intercontinental missile  

North Korea has claimed that it has successfully test-fired its first intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) Hwasong-14 into waters near Sea of Japan. The claim was confirmed by United States.

The launch appeared to be North Korea’s most successful missile test since its ballistic missile programme gathered pace in the late 1990s. The successful test also marks North Korea’s the final step in becoming confident and powerful nuclear state that can strike anywhere on Earth.

Key Facts

Based on missile’s height and trajectory path, US scientists claim that missile could potentially be powerful enough to reach Alaska.  The missile had reached an altitude higher and flew longer than any of the North Korea’s previous similar tests. The missile had landed in Japan’s exclusive economic zone.

US has strongly condemned the launch and added that it will never accept a nuclear-armed North Korea. The ICBM testing represents a new escalation of the threat to US and its allies and partners, the region and the world.

What is Intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM)?

An ICBM is a missile launched by a land-based system that is intended to carry nuclear payloads. To qualify as an ICBM, a missile must have a minimum range of 5,500km. The most significant difference between an ICBM and other ballistic missiles is its greater range and speed. It enables countries to strike exceptionally distant targets with minimum warning.

What are experts saying about the North Korean claim?

Analysis by South Korea and Japan has supported the account given by North Korea, which said the missile reached an altitude of 2,802km and flew 930km. The US initially had described it as an intermediate-range missile but later conceded it was an ICBM. North Korea will be 8th nation in the world to successfully test ICBM. Other countries that have ICBM technology are US, Russia, China, UK, France, Israel and India.

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UNSC Expands Sanctions against North Korea

The UN security council has unanimously passed a resolution expanding targeted sanctions against North Korea after the latter launched its ninth ballistic missile test of the year. This is the first such resolution which is agreed upon by the United States and China since the US President Donald Trump took office.

Salient Highlights

The new resolution has slapped even more sanctions on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). It has condemned the North Korea’s continued proliferation of its nuclear and ballistic program.

The new sanctions have extended a travel ban and asset freeze on senior officials, core military apparatus as well as the state entities that are directly responsible for North Korea’s illicit nuclear and ballistic missile programs. The list of expanded sanctions also included state officials and banks. This is aimed at further restricting North Korea’s ability to finance its illicit activities. Sanctions have been applied on entities like Koryo Bank, Strategic Rocket Force of the Korean People’s Army, and 14 other people, including the head of North Korea’s overseas spying operations.

Background

The UN Security Council had first imposed sanctions on North Korea over its ballistic missile and nuclear programs in the year 2006. The UN’s sanctions against North Korea are in response to five nuclear tests and two long-range missile launches. North Korea has also launched several more ballistic missiles since then. The US has struggled a lot to slow down these programs as the North Korea has vowed to develop a nuclear -tipped missile capable of hitting the US mainland.

The countries like France and Italy has supported the new resolution. Veto powered Russia too have backed the measures taken by UN. It is to be mentioned that the United States has unilaterally imposed its own sanctions on some of the Russian firms for supporting North Korea’s weapons programs.

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