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North Korea's new missiles aren't only for show: analysts

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on May 10, 2019 - Duration: 02:24s

North Korea's new missiles aren't only for show: analysts

North Korea's new missile tests signal it is serious about developing new, short-range weapons that could be used early and effectively in any war with South Korea and the United States, analysts studying images of the latest launches say.

Ryan Brooks reports.

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North Korea's new missiles aren't only for show: analysts

Observers say - North Koreas latest tests of new missiles shows its military capabilities are expanding.

And more launches may be on the way.

On Friday (May 10) state media said leader Kim Jong Un ordered the military to 'full combat posture' and directed another missile firing.

They also report Kim said that after the U.S. announced it seized a North Korean cargo ship carrying coal -- in breach of sanctions.

It all appears to point to preparations for a new, advanced missile system.

Reuters Josh Smith reports from Seoul.

(SOUNDBITE)(English) REUTERS KOREA SENIOR CORRESPONDENT, JOSH SMITH, SAYING: "While American and South Korean officials have downplayed these tests, saying that the missiles are small and don't threaten places like the United States, the experts we spoke to said that such weapons should not be underestimated.

They said that they could potentially form the first wave of any war between North Korea uh and the United States and South Korea.

These kind of missiles could potentially allow North Korea to target South Korean and North Korean bases, including with nuclear weapons.

One of the things that experts said is that, in many ways these small weapons are even more destabilizing than large, intercontinental ballistic missiles, because officials won't know what kind of warhead is on them when they are launched.

It could be conventional, it could be nuclear, but there's no way to know until they detonate." The launches are the first by the North since November 2017 when it shot an intercontinental ballistic missile.

U.S. President Donald Trump and the South's leader, Moon Jae-in both said the new tests weren't helpful but also suggested they wouldn't sink ongoing talks.

(SOUNDBITE)(English) U.S. PRESIDENT, DONALD TRUMP, SAYING: "I know they want to negotiate, they're talking about negotiating.

But I don't think they're ready to negotiate." (SOUNDBITE)(English) REUTERS KOREA SENIOR CORRESPONDENT, JOSH SMITH, SAYING: "South Korean officials we've talked to have said that they believe North Korea is slightly annoyed after the failure to reach an agreement with U.S. President Donald Trump at the Hanoi summit, in February, and that these tests are a form of protest." The U.S. followed the North's latest tests with its own launches of Minuteman III and Trident II missiles from over the Pacific and off Florida.

Washington has shown no signs it will budge on demands Pyongyang has made to lift sanctions.

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