China, Russia slam N.Korea missile test

By Yang Sheng Source:Global Times Published: 2017/2/14 0:23:39

Underdeveloped NK missile tech shows China’s sanctions working


This photo taken on Sunday and released on Monday by North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-un surrounded by soldiers of the Korean People's Army as he inspects the test launch of a surface-to-surface medium- to long-range ballistic missile Pukguksong-2 at an undisclosed location. Photo: AFP

This photo taken on Sunday and released on Monday by North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-un surrounded by soldiers of the Korean People's Army as he inspects the test launch of a surface-to-surface medium- to long-range ballistic missile Pukguksong-2 at an undisclosed location. Photo: AFP

China and Russia on Monday criticized North Korea's missile test as the UN Security Council (UNSC) has scheduled on Monday an emergency meeting on the launch.

Although North Korea boasted it had successfully test-fired a new type of medium- to long-range ballistic missile, claiming advances in its weapons program, experts have raised doubts about North Korea's missile technology, saying the missiles may succeed in destabilizing the region but fall short of threatening the US.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said at a regular press conference in Beijing on Monday that "China is paying close attention to the dynamics of the event (the test-launching)." The UNSC's resolutions contain clear provisions on launches using ballistic missile technology by North Korea, and China opposes North Korea's behavior which violated the UNSC's decision, he said.

Geng also urged relevant parties not to engage in provocative moves which could heighten regional tensions. "All parties need to exercise restraint to maintain regional peace and stability," he noted.

Leonid Slutsky, the chairman of the Russian lower house of parliament's international affairs committee, told Sputnik News Agency on Sunday that the test launch is "of course a challenge. Such actions contradict UNSC decisions, particularly the resolution adopted in November, and would, of course, worsen the situation in the region.

Pyongyang's unpredictable actions provoke new tensions near the Russian border," Slutsky said, adding Moscow was concerned about the situation.

However, according to the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), North Korea's official news agency, North Korea claimed that the test "was conducted using the high-angle launch method, taking the security of neighboring countries into consideration."

Old technology

KCNA said the test was conducted by "the caterpillar self-propelled missile launch truck" and the test "also verified the position control and guidance in the middle section and section of re-entry after the separation of the missile's improved warhead to evade interception."

"First, the caterpillar system is a very old technology. Both China and Russia can use wheeled vehicles or trains to transport missiles. Due to the sanctions, North Korea can't import vehicles for research," Song Zhongping, a military expert, told the Global Times.

"Second, North Korea didn't recycle the warhead in this test, so its warhead's survival capacity and technology to combine a warhead with a missile are doubtful. Most data released by North Korea had not been verified," Song said, "so its current nuclear capacity cannot scare the US, but is potent enough to destabilize the region."

"This shows that North Korea's missile technology remains underdeveloped, and that China's sanctions are effective," Song said.

The test was mainly conducted for diplomatic and political purposes, Lü Chao, a research fellow at the Liaoning Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times, "It's to encourage its own people on the anniversary of former leader Kim Il Sung's birthday, and to capitalize on South Korea's domestic crisis and Trump's unpreparedness to deal with the Peninsula's issue."

Diplomatic headache

The US, Japan and South Korea requested urgent UNSC consultations on North Korea's test launch on Sunday. The official said in a statement that the US expects a meeting to take place Monday afternoon.

 UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday called North Korea's test a "further troubling violation" of Security Council resolutions. "The DPRK leadership must return to full compliance with its international obligations and to the path of denuclearization," Guterres said.

Geng confirmed that "China will take part in the discussions in a responsible and constructive manner."

Slutsky said Russia disagrees with any further sanctions against North Korea and opposes the deployment of an anti-missile system, which would worsen the situation.

Lü said North Korea's test would give South Korea more reason to deploy the US Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system. He said, "Although North Korea also opposes THAAD, technically it won't affect North Korea too much but will seriously undermine China's and Russia's nuclear deterrence. So, to create more complications for China-South Korea or China-US ties, North Korea is willing to indirectly help the deployment."

That's why when we had a chance to solve the THAAD issue peacefully with South Korea, North Korea created trouble, Lü said.



Posted in: DIPLOMACY

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