S Korea, US envoys discuss N Korea missile launch

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The firing came only days after Pyongyang expressed a willingness to improve inter-Korean relations and even discuss a summit with Seoul …reports Asian Lite News

South Korea’s chief nuclear negotiator, Noh Kyu-duk, held video talks with his Chinese counterpart on Wednesday and discussed North Korea’s latest missile launch and recent statements, the Foreign Ministry said.

Noh’s talks with Liu Xiaoming, Beijing’s special representative on Korean Peninsula affairs, came a day after the North test-fired a hypersonic missile into the East Sea.

The firing came only days after Pyongyang expressed a willingness to improve inter-Korean relations and even discuss a summit with Seoul, on the condition the South drops its double-standard and hostile attitudes against the regime.

During the talks, Noh “asked for China’s constructive role in efforts to bring Pyongyang back to dialogue, as he underscored the need for the stable management of the peninsula situation and a swift resumption of the talks,” the ministry said in a release.

Liu reaffirmed Beijing’s willingness to cooperate to advance the peace process for the Korean Peninsula, according to the ministry.

The two also agreed to meet in person at an early date to continue the discussions.

On Tuesday, Noh also spoke by phone with his US counterpart, Sung Kim, and discussed the North’s missile launch.

Noh was set to depart for Indonesia later in the day for talks with Kim, slated for Thursday.

N Korea tests new hypersonic missile

North Korea said on Wednesday that it has conducted the first test-launch of a newly developed hypersonic missile on Tuesday that has “strategic significance” in bolstering its self-defence capabilities.

The North’s Academy of Defence Science test-fired the Hwasong-8 missile from Toyang-ri, Ryongrim County of Jagang Province, and “ascertained the stability of the engine as well as of missile fuel ampoule that has been introduced for the first time.”

The fuel “ampoule” appears to be referring to a container of liquid fuel, which would reduce the preparation time for a missile launch and make the weapon ready for use almost as fast as a solid-fuel missile, compared with conventional missiles that need fuel injection before firing.

The KCNA did not mention whether the weapon is a ballistic missile, but experts said it appears be a ballistic missile using liquid fuel as indicated by its name, Hwasong. North Korea is banned from ballistic technology under UN sanctions.

“The development of this weapon system… is of great strategic significance in markedly boosting the independent power of ultra-modern defense science and technology of the country and in increasing the nation’s capabilities for self-defense in every way,” the KCNA said.

The test-launch also confirmed “the stability of the engine as well as of missile fuel ampoule that has been introduced for the first time,” with the KCNA saying the test results showed that all technical specifications satisfied its design requirements.

Other details, such as the distance and speed of the tested missile, were not disclosed.

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