Missile Tracking Exercises Scheduled Amid Nuclear Tension With North Korea

Missile Tracking Exercises Scheduled Amid Nuclear Tension With North Korea

The statement follows a visit to Pyongyang by Jeffrey Feltman, the highest-level trip by a UN official to the isolated nation in six years.

North Korea has recently test-fired ballistic missiles over Japan and last week tested a new type of intercontinental ballistic missile that climbed to an altitude of more than 4,000 km before splashing into the sea within Japan's exclusive economic zone.

North Korean flew two medium-range ballistic missiles over the Japanese island of Hokkaido earlier this year and has threatened to bracket the USA territory of Guam with missiles tests on all sides of the island.

South Korea and the USA have meanwhile been carrying out large-scale military drills in a show of force.

North Korea is also concerned about the effects worldwide sanctions have had on the delivery of humanitarian aid.

North Korea is pursuing nuclear and missile weapons programs in defiance of United Nations sanctions and global condemnation.

The measures are in addition to those imposed by the UN Security Council.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said the U.S. threat to withdraw from the Iran 2015 nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, is hampering efforts to end the nuclear crisis with North Korea.

Feltman emphasised the need for the full implementation of UN Security Council resolutions and that the worldwide community was committed to achieving a peaceful solution.

State media also said Feltman visited a Pyongyang maternity hospital and a "disease prevention" facility, but left out mention of details around his meeting with foreign ministry officials.

North Korean state media earlier said current tensions were "entirely ascribable to the USA hostile policy".

North Korea's official KCNA news agency earlier reported that Feltman, during his meeting with North Korean officials, "expressed concern by tensions on the Korean Peninsula and readiness to assist in reducing those tensions".

Despite calls from other world leaders for restraint, this year has seen US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un hurl insults at each other, both at one time saying the other was mad.

The change suggests the growing threat posed by North Korea has given proponents of a strike capability the upper hand in military planning.