S. Korea strongly denounces DPRK's firing of ballistic missile

Source: Xinhua| 2017-07-04 14:34:04|Editor: MJ
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SEOUL, July 4 (Xinhua) -- South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Tuesday strongly denounced the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK)'s firing of a ballistic missile, raising a possibility that it may be the type of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said in a statement Tuesday that the DPRK fired off the ballistic missile into its eastern waters from an area near Banghyeon, North Pyongan province in the DPRK's northwest region at around 9:40 a.m. local time (0040 GMT).

The missile flew about 930 km into the East Sea, said the JCS which was still analyzing the type and the maximum altitude of the missile.

An unnamed South Korean government source was quoted by Yonhap News TV as saying the missile was lofted as high as more than 2,300 km.

President Moon convened the national security council (NSC) meeting of the Blue House.

The new South Korean leader, who took office on May 10, strongly denounced the DPRK's irresponsible provocation, saying it was in a clear violation of UN Security Council resolutions and squarely defies repeated warnings from the international community.

In an initial analysis by the military authorities of South Korea and the United States, the DPRK missile was estimated to have been a type of an intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM), but a precision analysis was going on with a possibility being in mind that it may have been a type of an ICBM, Moon said.

If the DPRK fired an ICBM-class missile, corresponding countermeasures would be considered, the president said.

The DPRK missile was reported to have traveled for some 40 minutes, but a JCS official refused to confirm the local media reports during a regular press briefing of the defense ministry.

The DPRK's firing of a ballistic missile followed President Moon's first summit meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump in Washington for two days from June 29.

During the summit meeting, the two leaders agreed to closely cooperate in denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula.

Moon said at the NSC meeting in his office that it was deeply disappointed and regretful for the DPRK to conduct such provocation just days after he and Trump urged Pyongyang to observe international obligations and refrain from any military actions that can cause instability.

Based on a firm South Korea-U.S. alliance, Moon said, South Korea will firmly maintain a combined defense posture with the U.S. forces while cooperating with the international society to sternly deal with the DPRK provocation.

The president urged Pyongyang to be awakened from an illusion that its nuclear and missile developments could ensure its safety, and to make a determination of the denuclearization.