Published: Mon, September 11, 2017
Global Media | By Garry Long

N.Korea may launch ICBM on Saturday: Seoul PM

N.Korea may launch ICBM on Saturday: Seoul PM

The near-constant unease has worsened in recent months as North Korea has displayed rapid improvement in its weapons capabilities, testing intercontinental ballistic missiles and a string of other missiles meant to target USA forces in Asia and the US mainland.

After Seoul chose to bring the U.S. missile defense system to Korea, Chinese authorities subjected South Korean firms' Chinese operations to various regulatory measures, while some consumer groups boycotted South Korean products, and businesses.

A THAAD battery normally consists of six launchers capable of firing up to 48 interceptor missiles, but only two have been operational.

Amid rising tension over North Korea's nuclear tests, South Korea's president has pleaded with Russia to help it with its push to cut off oil supplies to Pyongyang's regime, but Russian President Vladimir Putin is urging for diplomacy, saying that sanctions and pressure won't work, while stopping oil supply would have a worrying impact on regular North Koreans.

Meanwhile the South Korean president said that "perhaps the time has come for stronger sanctions" on Pyongyang.

They are hoping this will put extra pressure on leader Kim Jong-Un.

Putin is in Xiamen, China, for a meeting of leaders from the so-called BRICS group, a quintet of nations - Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa - once hailed as dynamic and fast-growing, but that have fallen, to varying degrees, on hard times.

The four launchers were in addition to others that have already been installed in South Korea since March.

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"North Korea is escalating an overt challenge to the peace, prosperity, law and order of the region and indeed the entire world".

The Defence Ministry said Monday that North Korea appeared to be planning a future missile launch, possibly of an ICBM, to show off its claimed ability to target the United States with nuclear weapons. Besides having in-depth discussions about handling the North Korean issue, "I want to start concrete talks on ways to cooperate substantively" in such fields as the economy, he said.

To pass, a resolution would require nine votes in favor and no vetoes by the 15-member Security Council's permanent members, the United States, Britain, France, Russia, or China.

The conservative main opposition Liberty Korea Party, which has opposed and criticized Moon's every move, has welcomed the decision while maintaining its attack on the administration.

His efforts have been hampered by bellicose rhetoric on all sides of the North Korean issue, and worsening relations between Seoul and Washington.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has dismissed the proposed sanctions as "useless and ineffective", and said that such actions along with South Korea's recent military drills were "playing into [North Korea's] hands". Trump, who also once favored talks with Pyongyang, recently said this was "not the answer".

North Korea says it needs to develop its weapons to defend itself against what it sees as USA aggression.

He pointed to the Iran nuclear deal, which was negotiated successfully by the Obama administration but has looked fragile under Trump, saying "if the United States had spent even one fifth of the time and effort on the North Korean issue compared with the Iranian case, then the North Korean nuclear issue could have been resolved".

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