08 April, 2017
North Korea fired a projectile into the Sea of Japan, also known as the East Sea, on Wednesday morning, US and South Korean officials said. Initial assesments indicate it was KN-15 sub-launched missile launched at a naval base at Sinpo, although this test was conducted from the land, CBS News' David Martin reports.
Wednesday's test represents a recent shift for the North Korean military from simple first-generation liquid fueled missiles to more advanced medium range ballistic missiles using solid fuel that is more hard to detect prior to launch, said Jeffrey Lewis, the director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in California.
Since then, North Korea has further ramped up its tests and rhetoric, emphasizing a consistent message: To create a nuclear device small enough to mount on an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), and fire it at the United States.
Pyongyang is on a quest to develop a long-range missile capable of hitting the U.S. mainland with a nuclear warhead, and has so far staged five nuclear tests, two of them previous year.
"Yes, [it is] a warning that the United States is losing patience with the North Koreans and their antics", said Wilder, who is now a Georgetown University professor, "and we are exhausted of giving [Kim Jong Un] attention and that as the president said, it's time for the Chinese to make a strategic decision on North Korea".
In a phone call with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday, Trump again said that all options were on the table when it came to North Korea's continued missile tests.
The North Korea flag flutters next to concertina wire at the North Korean embassy in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia March 9, 2017.
"There was a test-firing recently of a Hyunmoo-type ballistic missile with a range of almost 800 km at the Anheung test site", inside sources told Yonhap News Agency, adding the launch was assessed as "successful".
General Lori Robinson told lawmakers she was "extremely confident" of United States capability to intercept an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) bound for America, should North Korean leader Kim Jong-un succeed in developing that technology.
With the possibility of additional launches after Wednesday morning, the South Korean military is on alert, working closely with USA counterparts.
"Before the end of President Trump's current term, the North Koreans will probably be able to reach Seattle with an indigenously produced nuclear weapon aboard an indigenously produced intercontinental ballistic missile", Michael Hayden, who served as the director of the Central Intelligence Agency between 2006 to 2009, said Tuesday while speaking at Johns Hopkins University.
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Wednesday's missile appeared to be a KN-15, or Pukkuksong-2, a land-based version of the submarine-launched ballistic missile. US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson confirmed Pyongyang had launched "yet another" intermediate range ballistic missile.
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The North Koreans use Sinpo shipyard for their submarine activity, and U.S. satellites have observed increased activity there in recent days, another USA official said.
The South plans to deploy the new missile this year following further tests to determine its reliability, Yonhap said.
The Trump administration has vowed progress on North Korea, and said it is willing to go it alone without China, usually seen as vital to putting pressure on Pyongyang.
This latest launch comes just ahead of US President Donald Trump receiving Chinese President Xi Jinping in Florida for a meeting which will have North Korea as one of the main topics.
By demonstrating a capacity to launch a salvo of missiles from different sites, North Korea could neutralize the ability of the U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile system.
Analysts say North Korea might time nuclear and long-range rocket tests to the April 15 birthday of North Korea founder Kim Il Sung, the late grandfather of current leader Kim Jong Un.
"This coordinated initiative could force North Korea to make real demilitarization concessions, while providing a win for both China and the United States", Markey wrote, adding that China has unsuccessfully urged the USA to engage North Korea directly for years.
It said on Thursday the new punitive measures were in response to actions that posed "a grave threat to global peace and security in the region and beyond".
"Japan resolutely will not tolerate these repeated provocative acts by North Korea". But earlier in March, North Korea fired four ballistic missiles that flew about 1,000 kilometers (620 miles), with three of them landing in waters that Japan claims as its exclusive economic zone.
Seoul has also approved a trip to North Korea by the South's women's soccer team to take part qualifiers for the 2018 AFC Women's Asian Cup.
"US Pacific Command is fully committed to working closely with our Republic of Korea and Japanese allies to maintain security", the military command in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region said.