WASHINGTON – North Korea says it successfully tested a new, nuclear-capable intercontinental-ballistic missile that could target the entire US mainland.
The North’s state television said Wednesday the new ICBM was “significantly more” powerful than the previous long-range weapon the North tested.
The report called the weapon a Hwasong 15. The launch was detected after it was fired from a site near Pyongyang.
Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland has announced that Canada will co-host a meeting with foreign leaders about the North Korean situation.
“Canada believes that a diplomatic solution to the North Korea crisis is essential and possible. Today, Canada is announcing that it will soon convene a meeting of foreign ministers in Canada, co-hosted with the United States, to address this most pressing international security threat. A specific date and location for this meeting will be announced in due course.’’
Freeland also voiced support for Japan, South Korea and other nations in the region.
“North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs present a direct threat to the world. This threat cannot be tolerated.”
A Canadian summit planning to find a peaceful resolution to North Korea’s ballistic “sabre rattling” can’t come soon enough for a local Korean expert.
“Donald Trump is right in saying it would be a catastrophe like the world has never seen before,” says Don Baker.
He’s the Co-director with the University of British Columbia’s Centre for Korean Research, noting that the North hasn’t pushed this hard for war since the Korean War.
Baker quotes a NORAD general who said current US policy is to not defend Canada if it is targeted by a missile attack.
“If North Korea tries to send a missile toward the United States, it would fly over Canada, and it could fall short,” he warns. “I think more likely, what North Korea would do, once it gets close enough to the American West Coast, is send a missile from a submarine.”
He says the submarine is a more likely move by North Korea than launching an intercontinental ballistic missile or ICBM, he thinks that is more of a potential “show of force” by their Supreme Leader, Kim Jong-un.
The summit is planned for some time next year and Baker says both Kim and Trump trusts Canada, which could go a long way.
“They have to find some way to save both Donald Trump’s ego, and Kim Jong-un’s ego, that’s the problem,” he explains. “Canada might be able to do that because Canada is relatively respected by both sides.”
Andre Gerolymatos, Co-ordinator with Simon Fraser University’s Security Studies program says this meeting is unprecedented for Canada, but so is the threat posed by North Korea.
“No one can really judge how serious or not the dictator is, for Canada, it’s very important that the Canadian government protect its people, how can we protect our people? we may have to resort to building missiles that could knock down ICBM’s,” he explains.