Seoul- In a gesture considered as a “gift” for the US on the eve of its Independence Day, North Korea announced on Tuesday it successfully test-launched its first intercontinental ballistic missile.
US experts warned that the missile, Hwasong-14, is powerful enough to reach Alaska, and therefore, puts large parts of the US mainland in range.
Using a tough rhetoric against North Korea’s missile test-launch, US President Donald Trump called on Beijing, Pyongyang’s main ally, to “put a heavy move on North Korea and end this nonsense once and for all!”
The US request coincided with the presence of Chinese President Xi Jinping in Moscow where he met with his Russian counterpart President Vladimir Putin.
As the two presidents condemned the new test launch, they both called for self-restraint.
Putin and Xi said Pyongyang’s latest missile test was “unacceptable.”
Later, a joint statement issued by the Chinese and Russian foreign ministers said “North Korea is called to declare a moratorium on testing nuclear explosive devices and ballistic rocket launches, while Washington should refrain from large-scale military exercises, along its South Korean ally.”
Earlier, the two Russian and Chinese presidents had called on the US to withdraw its anti-missile system from Europe and its Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) from South Korea, saying the deployment of US missile defense systems in the region “damages strategic security interests of regional powers, including Russia and China.”
Following their meeting on Tuesday, Xi and Putin are both set to attend the G20 summit convening in Hamburg, Germany on July 7.
Meanwhile, David Wright, co-director of the Global Security Program at the US-based Union of Concerned Scientists, said the assessments of the flight time and distance suggested the missile could reach a maximum range of roughly 6,700 km on a standard trajectory.
“That range would not be enough to reach the lower 48 states or the large islands of Hawaii, but would allow it to reach all of Alaska,” he wrote in a blog post.
On Tuesday, Japan’s Defense Ministry said the missile launched by North Korea “greatly exceeded” an altitude of 2,500 kilometers.