North Korea's Nuclear Missiles Are Finding Our Range

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South Korea's Acting President and Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn slammed the North during a National Security Council meeting, saying its nuke and missile provocations are "real and imminent threats for the people's lives and security".

Toner further said that all previous attempts to persuade North Korea to halt its nuclear program have failed and there is a need to find new ways to engage.

Foreign Minister Wang Yi said frictions between the North and Washington and Seoul were like "two accelerating trains" headed at each other, with neither side willing to give way. Wang told reporters, painting China as a signalman attempting avert the disaster.

The Trump administration has recently deployed the THAAD missile-defense system to protect South Korea and USA forces in theater from a North Korean missile attack. Last month, North Korea test-fired a "medium- or intermediate-range" missile, and on Sunday, it fired four missiles - one of which is believed to have flown for around 620 miles before it splashed into the Sea of Japan.

A major South Korean conglomerate is closing numerous supermarket stores in China, reportedly after being caught in the middle of escalating tensions with the Asian country over the deployment of a controversial US missile defense system.

Experts said the move was nearly certainly in reaction to joint military exercises between South Korea and the United States, which Pyongyang views as preparations for an invasion.

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China, however, views the project as part of a broader USA attempt to stifle its rise.

"It's hard to calculate or predict when North Korea might achieve that capability, a reliable nuclear-armed [intercontinental ballistic missile]", Samore said.

China proposed Wednesday that North Korea could suspend its nuclear and missile activities in exchange for a halt in joint military drills conducted by the USA and South Korea. It may already have the capability to strike South Korea and Japan - and the tens of thousands of American forces there - with nuclear weapons, and could pose the same threat to the US mainland within years. "Peace is still within our grasp".

Kim Jong-Un is preparing for another missile test despite moves by China to diffuse growing tensions between North and South Korea.

Any weapon Japan acquired with the reach to hit North Korea would also put parts of China's eastern seaboard within range of Japanese munitions for the first time.

During Thursday's Lower House Security Committee session, Inada was asked by an opposition lawmaker if the government would consider acquiring the capability to carry out preemptive strikes against overseas military bases, such as those hosting missiles targeted at Japan.

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"The most essential task for China now is to boost its military power". But just two weeks later, the decision to deploy THAAD was announced.

Xinhua, China's official news agency, claimed Thaad would trigger an arms race.

Experts are far more concerned that these missiles could be fitted with nuclear warheads.

"However, the combination of more hawkish security advisors in the USA administration and North Korea's progression in developing an Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) that could reach the United States with a nuclear warhead points to a rising risk of a military confrontation", von Mehren added.

"It's hard to calculate or predict when North Korea might achieve that capability, a reliable nuclear-armed ICBM, but certainly with the pace of testing they've been carrying out something in the next five to 10 years seems like a reasonable guess", Samore said, via Yonhap.

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