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North Korean leadership has said that they have successfully tested their first intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) under the supervision of their leader Kim Jong-un and that it was capable of hitting anywhere in the world. North Korea tested a long-range missile, experts believe, has the capability to reach Alaska. The US and South Korea have held a ballistic missile drill to respond to this move played out by the North Koreans.

“The United States strongly condemns North Korea’s launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile. Testing an ICBM represents a new escalation of the threat to the United States, our allies and partners, the region, and the world,”  Rex Tillerson

It was stated by the North Korean media that the Hwasong-14 missile reached an altitude of 2,802km and hit its target precisely after flying for 39 minutes. This information was later confirmed by the South Koreans in a statement by the military that the “unidentified ballistic missile” was fired at around 00:40 GMT from a site near Banghyon in North Pyongan province and flew about 930 kilometers, coming down in the Sea of Japan. US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson also confirmed that North Korea has tested an intercontinental ballistic missile for the first time. This was also confirmed by Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, who told reporters that the missile flew for 40 minutes, which was an unusually long flight time.

Read more: Defying global pressure: North Korea fires new land-to-ship missiles

“This launch of a ballistic missile can never be tolerated, and Japan strongly protested to North Korea and condemned it,” Yoshihide Suga

The United Nations Security Council had called for an emergency meeting after the Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, strongly condemned the launch, warning that it “constitutes a dangerous escalation of the situation” The launch, the latest in a series of tests, was in defiance of a ban by the UN Security Council. North Korea’s missile launch is the first since Pyongyang fired several cruise missiles in early June and happened as leaders of the US, United States, China, Japan and South Korea are expected to discuss efforts to rein in the North’s nuclear and missile tests at the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany on July 7 to 8.

“China has made relentless efforts for the settlement of the Korean peninsula nuclear issue. China’s contribution in this regard is well recognised, and its role is indispensable,” foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang 

South Korean President Moon Jae-in said the allies needed to demonstrate their missile defense posture “with action, not just a statement”. In a joint statement Gen Vincent Brooks, commander of US Forces Korea, and South Korean Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen Lee Sun-jin said the allies were maintaining patience and self-restraint, but this could change. China’s ambassador to the UN, Liu Jieyi, said that Beijing would push for the US and South Korea to halt military exercises on the Korean Peninsula in exchange for North Korea suspending its nuclear and ballistic missile program.

“It is very important to push forward our joint initiative on settling the Korean problem with a view of immediately freezing the ballistic missile strikes and also dealing with the US deployment of weapons in South Korea,” President Vladimir Putin

Donald Trump threatened to use force against the North in response to serious provocations but had never specified what constitutes “crossing the line” for him, or what form military retaliation might take. However, these latest claims by the North Koreans might be the boiling point for Trump to take action. Whilst China and Russia have urged to act as mediators in stopping the progress by Pyongyang on the condition of a halt of American military action, the US has made no public move to open talks, instead opting to engage in a renewed military show of force with its South Korean ally.

Read more: Will Trump be left standing alone against North Korea?

With an escalation of tensions and the uncertainty that North Korea may act irrationally, the world is at its feet ready to make a move, unfortunately, different leaders have started to contradict with each other’s points of view thus resulting in no actual progress in terms of putting a lid on the possibility of a nuclear war.

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