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North Korea claims test of new cruise missile to target warships

10 June 2017

The missiles North Korea lobbed into the East Sea on Thursday morning are presumed to be land-to-ship cruise missiles.

In early June, the US Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) imposed new sanctions on North Korea and entities trading with it over its ongoing development of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and continued violations of UN Security Council resolutions.

On Thursday, the North fired what appeared to be several short-range anti-ship cruise missiles from its east coast in the latest series of missile tests in defiance of global sanctions, according to the South Korean military. "The government will unwaveringly make efforts for complete denuclearization of North Korea's nuclear weapons through both sanctions and dialogue".

"I would not say we are comfortably ahead of the threat".

USA officials have sought to play down the impact on relations with South Korea, a long-time treaty ally where more than 28,000 troops are based, although a Pentagon spokesman made clear it would like to see the full battery installed.

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The suspension may please China, which had retaliated to Thaad by restricting some tourism and retail business with South Korea.

A State Department spokeswoman, Katina Adams, said the decision to deploy THAAD was an essential response to North Korea's fast-developing nuclear and missiles programs, which has seen dozens of launches and two bomb tests since the start of a year ago.

On May 14, North Korea fired a rocket that analysts estimate had a range of 4,500 kilometers, putting it within reach of Guam.

The latest missile test by North Korea was of "a new-type ground-to-sea cruise rocket", the nuclear-armed country's state media said Friday.

Washington says it is willing to enter into talks with Pyongyang, but only if it halts its missile and nuclear tests.

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The missiles were fired at around 6:18 a.m. from the eastern city of Wonsan, according to sources including the South Korean military.

The interceptor launched about 10 minutes after the Pentagon let loose the mock ICBM, Syring said, hitting the incoming missile about 2,000 miles off the coast of California, north of the Hawaiian Islands. "Of course China and Russian Federation will continue to closely communicate on this issue, we will oppose the United States deploying THAAD in South Korea".

Cruise missile tests do not contravene United Nations regulations, Korea Defence Network analyst Lee Il-Woo told AFP, adding they were "much slower than ballistic missiles and can be shot down by anti-aircraft guns". A full environmental assessment could take as long as a year, Yonhap News reported, citing a South Korean presidential official.

South Korea's new president is shifting policy when it comes to a program of missile defense.

The introduction of the THAAD system has sparked protests in South Korea and a backlash in China against South Korean business interests.

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In a rare news briefing on Friday, Chung Eui-yong made clear that Seoul's decision to hold off the full deployment of the USA anti-missile system pending a review of environmental impact is purely a domestic measure for the sake of ensuring a democratic process.