North Korea Sends Surprise Missile on the Fourth

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North Korea Sends ICBM

North Korea sends an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) on the Fourth of July. The leaders of North Korea say the missile can carry a large nuclear warhead. A US Defense Department spokeswoman said some experts believe the missile has the ability to reach Alaska and the Pacific Northwest of the US. Rex Tillerson, the US Secretary of State, said this represents “a new escalation of the treat” to the US and its allies, and vowed to take stronger measures. China, which chairs the U.N. Security Council, will hold an emergency meeting on North Korea at 3 pm today. The meeting has been requested by the US, Japan and South Korea.

Kim Jong-un Says it was a Gift

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un looks on during the test-launch of the intercontinental ballistic missile Hwasong-14 in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang July 5, 2017. KCNA/via REUTERS

KCNA, the state news agency, reported, “He, with a broad smile on his face, told officials, scientists and technicians that the U.S. would be displeased…as it was given a ‘package of gifts’ on its ‘Independence Day.'” The report went on to say that Kim ordered them to “frequently send big and small ‘gift packages’ to the Yankees.”

President Donald Trump denounced China’s trade with North Korea and cast doubt on whether Beijing is working with Washington to counter the North Korea nuclear threat. He twittered today, “Trade between China and North Korea grew almost 40 pct in the first quarter. So much for China working with us – but we had to give it a try!” The president, in a phone call with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi urged all countries to “stop hosting North Korea guest workers, and stop providing economic or military benefits to North Korea.” In a 2015 U.N. document it was estimated that more than 50,000 North Korean workers were overseas earning currencies for the government, with the vast majority in China and Russia.

Trump indicated he is running out of patience with Beijing’s efforts to rein in North Korea. His administration has said all options are on the table, military included, but suggested those would be a last resort and that sanctions and diplomatic pressure were its preferred course. However, David Pressman, who served as the deputy US envoy to the United States in the Obama administration, said the North Korean leadership seemed unaffected by U.N. Security Council condemnations.

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