North Korea missile launch: 'There are Russian technology fingerprints all over it'

North Korea missile launch: 'There are Russian technology fingerprints all over it'

Experts who analyzed photos from the North Korean state media say it's clear the North on Saturday tested a new solid-fuel missile that appears to be modeled after Russia's Iskander short-range ballistic missile system.

The U.S. said Thursday that it has seized a North Korean cargo ship that was used to violate global sanctions, a first-of-its kind enforcement action that comes amid a tense moment in relations between the two countries.

Harry Kazianis of the Centre for the National Interest added that the North had "once again chosen a course of action today that can only worsen already growing tensions".

Analysts said it was too soon to say exactly what kind of missiles were involved in the latest launches, but the range would probably exceed that of most of the rockets North Korea fired on Saturday from its east coast into the ocean, "You don't know what missile it is just from how far it flew", said Yang Uk, a senior research fellow at the Korea Defence and Security Forum.

The South's military has so far not provided any further details, including where the object landed. At the White House on Thursday, Trump said the US was looking "very seriously right now" at North Korea's recent military tests.

The statement followed a JSC announcement indicating that North Korea fired two short-range missiles at 4:29 p.m. and 4:49 p.m. from Kusong, North Pyongan Province, Thursday.

The remark came a day after the DPRK fired two unidentified projectiles, presumed to be short-range missiles, from its northwestern region.

Use of a tracked vehicle, which North Korea has more experience building, suggests it may plan to deploy a large number of the missiles and launchers, said Joshua Pollack, editor of The Nonproliferation Review.

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It is Biegun's first visit to Seoul since the Hanoi summit between US President Donald Trump and the North's leader Kim Jong Un collapsed without agreement.

"Kim Jong Un has given the United States until the end of the year to rethink its approach", he said.

Saturday's drills also highlighted the fragility of the detente between the two neighbors on the Korean Peninsula, Zhang said, as he noted that in a military agreement reached last September, Pyongyang and Seoul vowed to completely cease "all hostile acts" against each other in land, air and sea.

The vessel was owned by a subsidiary of a North Korean shipping company that is controlled by the country's military and is on a Treasury Department sanctions list, officials said.

A top United States envoy is in Seoul for talks on how to break the nuclear deadlock. "It is protesting to the United States and South Korea". The announcement has no connection with the North's missile activities, a USA official said.

The Iskander missiles have always been a source of tension in Europe and were cited by President Donald Trump as a key reason behind his decision in February to break with the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, which bans production, testing and deployment of land-based cruise and ballistic missiles with a range of 500 to 5,500 kilometers (310 to 3,410 miles).

With the consecutive weapons launches, North Korea is pressuring South Korea to turn away from the United States and support North Korea's position more strongly, said Du Hyeogn Cha, a visiting scholar at Seoul's Asan Institute for Policy Studies.

The launches were seen as Pyongyang's brushback pitch toward Washington over deadlocked nuclear negotiations as they continue to struggle with mismatched demands in sanctions relief and disarmament.

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