South Korean Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon has said that they expect another North Korea intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) launch on September 9.
“The situation is very grave. It doesn’t seem much time is left before North Korea achieves its complete nuclear armament,” the prime minister told a meeting of defense ministers in Seoul on Thursday. “Some believe North Korea may launch another intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) on the 9th; this time at an ordinary angle”
“A special measure is urgently needed to stop their recklessness,” he added. Earlier Thursday, the final parts of a controversial US missile defense system arrived at a base in South Korea as hundreds of protesters thronged the area amid a huge police presence.
Protesters scuffled with armored riot police as they attempted to block the road where US Forces Korea were transporting four additional THAAD missile interceptor launchers to a base in Seongju, around 300 kilometers (186 miles) south of Seoul. Two launchers have been operational at the site since May.
That rollout was “temporarily” completed Thursday, a spokesman for South Korea’s defense ministry said, adding it was necessary to counter increased threats from North Korea.
South Korea President Moon Jae-in met with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe Thursday morning in Vladivostok where they’re attending the Eastern Economic Forum, hosted by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
After the meeting, Abe and Moon issued a statement saying “now is the time to further increase sanctions and pressures against the North as much as possible rather than seeking dialogue,” according to Moon’s spokesman Yoon Young-chan.
The two leaders felt Russian and Chinese involvement was paramount and agreed to work towards that goal, Yoon said. Abe is due to meet Putin separately later today.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang warned this week that further THAAD deployment “can only severely damage the strategic security balance in the region,” harm the strategic interests of other countries such as China and cause further antagonism on the Korean Peninsula.
US President Donald Trump criticized Moon this week for seeking “appeasement” with Pyongyang, while in August, Moon issued a forceful statement rebuking Trump’s threats of “fire and fury” against North Korea, saying that any military actions on the Korean Peninsula must be made in consultation and with agreement from Seoul.

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