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According to South Korea’s military, North Korea has conducted another missile test on May 21.

Meanwhile, the White House said the medium-range missile had a shorter range than those used in North Korea’s last three tests.

The move comes a week after North Korea tested what it said was a new type of rocket capable of carrying a large nuclear warhead.

On May 15, the UN Security Council again demanded that North Korea conduct no further such tests.

It stressed the importance of North Korea “immediately showing sincere commitment to denuclearization through concrete action”.

The UN Security Council is now scheduled to meet behind closed doors on May 23 – a meeting requested by the US, South Korea and Japan.

South Korea’s foreign ministry earlier said the launch was “reckless and irresponsible”, while Secretary of State Rex Tillerson described it as “disappointing” and “disturbing”.

The latest missile flew about 350 miles towards the Sea of Japan, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said. Last week’s missile travelled about 435 miles.

Japanese news agencies said the missile probably fell into the sea outside Japan’s waters.

Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a news conference a protest had been lodged with North Korea.

North Korea is known to be developing both nuclear weapons – it has conducted five nuclear tests – and the missiles capable of delivering those weapons to their target. Both are in defiance of UN sanctions.

South Korea said the latest test was conducted in Pukchang, in the west of the country. A missile exploded soon after take-off from Pukchang last month.

Earlier on May 21, North Korea’s state-run media had said it would continue to launch more “weapons capable of striking” the US.

In early May, the US said a missile defense system it had installed in South Korea was now operational.

The THAAD system can intercept North Korean missiles, although full operational capability is still some months away. North Korea and its ally China have condemned the installation of the system.

However, there is no sign that THAAD was used against the missile tested on May 21.

Newly-installed South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who is seeking deeper engagement with North Korea, has convened an urgent meeting of his national security council in response.


The controversial THAAD missile defense system is now operational in South Korea, the US military says.

The system can intercept North Korean missiles although full operational capability is still some months away.

Tensions have been rising around the Korean peninsula, with repeated threats from North Korea and the presence of a group of US warships and a submarine.

North Korea reacted angrily to the latest military exercise, accusing the US of risking a nuclear war.

The rise in tension comes only a day after President Donald Trump said he would be “honored” to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, in the right circumstances.

The US announced last week it would activate THAAD, which was not expected to be in use until late 2017, within days.

THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) has been installed at a former golf course in the central county of Seongju, amid angry protests.

Image source Wikimedia

Many locals believe the system is a potential target for attacks and endangers the lives of those living nearby.

China also strongly opposes the system, believing it interferes with the security of its own military operations. On May 2, Beijing demanded the deployment be halted.

China would “firmly take necessary measures to uphold our interests”, foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said.

However, Geng Shuang welcomed President Trump’s suggestion of meeting Kim Jong-un, saying China had “always believed that dialogue and consultation… is the only realistic and viable way to achieve denuclearization”.

When the announcement of the THAAD deployment was made last year, North Korea promised a physical response, with state media expressing the “unwavering will of our army to deal a ruthless retaliatory strike”.

A spokesman for the US forces based in South Korea said THAAD now had “the ability to defend the Republic of Korea”.

However, the system only has “initial intercept capability”, a US defense official told AFP. It will be strengthened later this year as more parts of the system arrive.

North Korea and the US have traded heated rhetoric in recent weeks as Pyongyang continues to defy a UN ban on missile tests.

Pyongyang has carried out two failed missile launches in recent weeks and has said it is ready to carry out its sixth nuclear test at any time.

North Korea reacted angrily on May 2 to a joint US-South Korea military exercise the day before involving two supersonic B-1B Lancer bombers, which it said was a “nuclear bomb dropping drill”.

“The reckless military provocation is pushing the situation on the Korean peninsula closer to the brink of nuclear war,” North Korea’s official KCNA news agency said.

The Pentagon has decided to move an advanced missile system to the Pacific island of Guam as a precaution following threats by North Korea.

The US Department of Defence said it would deploy the ballistic Terminal High Altitude Area Defense System (THAAD) in the coming weeks.

Pyongyang has threatened to target South Korea and the US in recent weeks.

The Pentagon has decided to move an advanced missile system to the Pacific island of Guam as a precaution following threats by North Korea

The Pentagon has decided to move an advanced missile system to the Pacific island of Guam as a precaution following threats by North Korea

The North Korean warlike rhetoric follows new UN sanctions and joint military drills by the US and South Korea.

The Thaad system includes a truck-mounted launcher, interceptor missiles, and AN/TPY-2 tracking radar, together with an integrated fire control system.

The Pentagon said in a statement the missile system would be moved to Guam as a “precautionary move to strengthen our regional defence posture against the North Korean regional ballistic missile threat”.

“The United States remains vigilant in the face of North Korean provocations and stands ready to defend US territory, our allies, and our national interests,” the statement added.

In recent weeks, North Korea has mentioned military bases in the US territory of Guam and the US state of Hawaii as possible targets.

“Some of the actions they’ve taken over the last few weeks, present a real and clear danger,” said Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel, in his first major speech on Wednesday since taking up his post.

Chuck Hagel added that Pyongyang had also threatened the interests of South Korea and Japan.

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