A television displays a news broadcast reporting on North Korea test-firing ballistic missiles, at a station in Seoul, South Korea. EPA
A television displays a news broadcast reporting on North Korea test-firing ballistic missiles, at a station in Seoul, South Korea. EPA

Chorus of condemnation as North Korea fires four missiles close to Japan



SEOUL // North Korea on Monday fired four banned ballistic missiles that flew about 1,000 kilometres on average, with three of them landing in waters that Japan claims as its exclusive economic zone, South Korean and Japanese officials said.

The test-launches appeared to be a reaction to huge US-South Korean military drills that those countries consider routine but that Pyongyang insists are an invasion rehearsal.

Washington condemned the missile launch, saying it was ready to “use the full range of capabilities at our disposal against this growing threat”.

It was not clear the exact type of missile fired, but the tests will be viewed as a provocation by the Trump administration, which is working on its policy for North Korea.

The New York Times reported over the weekend that the United States cannot effectively counter Pyongyang’s actions despite efforts to perfect cyber and electronic strikes against its missile programme.

Pyongyang has test-launched a series of missiles of various ranges in recent months, including a new intermediate-range missile in February. It also conducted two nuclear tests last year.

The ramped-up tests come as leader Kim Jong-un pushes for a nuclear and missile programme that can deter what he calls US and South Korean hostility toward the North.

There have been widespread worries that the North will conduct an intercontinental ballistic missile test that, when perfected, could in theory reach the US mainland. Washington would consider such a capability a major threat.

US national security adviser HR McMaster and his South Korean counterpart Kim Kwan-jin talked condemned the launches and agreed to boost cooperation to get the North to face more effective sanctions and pressure, according to South Korea’s presidential office.

Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe said three missiles landed in the 200-nautical-mile offshore area where Tokyo has sovereign rights for exploring and exploiting resources. He said a fourth missile fell “near” Japan’s exclusive economic zone.

Japanese leaders see the launches into nearby waters as a growing threat.

France condemned the missile drills and said Paris would consult UN Security Council members on the issue, while Russia expressed grave concern.

“We are seriously worried - these are the sort of actions that lead to a rise in tension in the region and of course in this situation, traditionally, Moscow calls for restraint from all sides,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

US state department spokesman Mark Toner said, “We remain prepared – and will continue to take steps to increase our readiness – to defend ourselves and our allies from attack, and are prepared to use the full range of capabilities at our disposal against this growing threat.”

Seoul and Washington call their military drills on the Korean Peninsula, which remains in a technical state of war because the 1950-53 Korean War ended with an armistice and not a peace treaty, defensive and routine.

The North hates the military drills, which run until late April.

* Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Klipit

Started: 2022

Founders: Venkat Reddy, Mohammed Al Bulooki, Bilal Merchant, Asif Ahmed, Ovais Merchant

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Digital receipts, finance, blockchain

Funding: $4 million

Investors: Privately/self-funded

In Search of Mary Shelley: The Girl Who Wrote Frankenstein
By Fiona Sampson
Profile

It’ll be summer in the city as car show tries to move with the times

If 2008 was the year that rocked Detroit, 2019 will be when Motor City gives its annual car extravaganza a revamp that aims to move with the times.

A major change is that this week's North American International Auto Show will be the last to be held in January, after which the event will switch to June.

The new date, organisers said, will allow exhibitors to move vehicles and activities outside the Cobo Center's halls and into other city venues, unencumbered by cold January weather, exemplified this week by snow and ice.

In a market in which trends can easily be outpaced beyond one event, the need to do so was probably exacerbated by the decision of Germany's big three carmakers – BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi – to skip the auto show this year.

The show has long allowed car enthusiasts to sit behind the wheel of the latest models at the start of the calendar year but a more fluid car market in an online world has made sales less seasonal.

Similarly, everyday technology seems to be catching up on those whose job it is to get behind microphones and try and tempt the visiting public into making a purchase.

Although sparkly announcers clasp iPads and outline the technical gadgetry hidden beneath bonnets, people's obsession with their own smartphones often appeared to offer a more tempting distraction.

“It's maddening,” said one such worker at Nissan's stand.

The absence of some pizzazz, as well as top marques, was also noted by patrons.

“It looks like there are a few less cars this year,” one annual attendee said of this year's exhibitors.

“I can't help but think it's easier to stay at home than to brave the snow and come here.”

Kill

Director: Nikhil Nagesh Bhat

Starring: Lakshya, Tanya Maniktala, Ashish Vidyarthi, Harsh Chhaya, Raghav Juyal

Rating: 4.5/5

RESULTS

1.45pm: Green Oasis Trading – Maiden (PA) Dh50,000 (Dirt) 1,400m
Winner: Meeqat, Saif Al Balushi (jockey), Khalifa Al Neyadi (trainer)
2.15pm: Al Shafar Investment – Maiden (TB) Dh60,000 (D) 1,400m
Winner: Flying Hunter, Ray Dawson, Ahmad bin Harmash
2.45pm: The Union 51 Cup – Handicap (TB) Dh84,000 (D) 1,400m
Winner: Ibra Attack, Adrie de Vries, Ahmed Al Shemaili
3.15pm: ASCANA Thakaful – Maiden (TB) Dh60,000 (D) 1,200m
Winner: Onda Ruggente, Royston Ffrench, Salem bin Ghadayer
3.45pm: Commercial Bank of Dubai – Handicap (TB) Dh76,000 (D) 1,200m
Winner: Dignity Joy, Antonio Fresu, Musabah Al Muhairi
4.15pm: Dubai Real Estate Centre – Handicap (TB) Dh76,000 (D) 1,600m
Winner: Tolmount, Xavier Ziani, Salem bin Ghadayer
4.45pm: Jebel Ali Racecourse – Handicap (TB) Dh84,000 (D) 1,950m
Winner: Rakeez, Tadhg O’Shea, Bhupat Seemar