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Expert sees Pyongyang's new missile launch as game-changer in US-North Korean relations
The new missile test carried out by North Korea on July 4 has changed the overall framework of relations between North Korea and the United States along with the regional security situation, Director of Russia's Asian Strategy at the Russian Academy of Sciences' Institute of Economics and expert on Korean Peninsula issues, Georgy Toloraya, said in an interview with TASS on Tuesday.
"That's very serious," he said when asked about the importance of North Korea's latest missile launch. "It changes the actual picture in relations between the US and North Korea. North Korea can currently reach the territory of Alaska, possibly, Hawaii and the US Pacific Coast. In addition to that, this test launch changes everything in relations between the two countries and in regional security."
According to the Russian expert, after the launch one can state that Pyongyang has acquired nuclear deterrence means. "The seriousness of this event is that North Korea apparently used a new type of carrier, an intercontinental ballistic missile, which means that Pyongyang has acquired a nuclear deterrent against the US," he said.
Toloraya emphasized that the date for testing a new missile carrier was chosen as a deliberate signal. "The fact that it was done on July 4 as a gift to the US on its Independence Day and the fact that Russian and Chinese leaders Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping are holding discussions in Moscow today on issues related to North Korea, makes one suggest that [North Korean leader] Kim Jong-un does not want to take anyone's interests into account and will act of his own free will emphasizing his complete independence from the global centers of power."
North Korea's television earlier announced the successful launch of the Hwasong-14 intercontinental ballistic missile. The missile reached an altitude of 2,802 kilometers and flew 933 kilometers, North Korean TV added. According to Pyongyang's state run media, the test launch did not have any negative effect on neighboring countries.
The Russian Defense Ministry said the missile fired by North Korea posed no threat to Russia as the launch was carried out in the direction opposite its borders.
[Source: Itar Tass, Moscow, 04Jul17]
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