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South Korea Says North Korea Conducted Unsuccessful Missile Launches, US Officials Aware

Tuesday, March 21, 2017 21:00
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Just hours after US military officials warned of a North Korea missile launch, Japanese media is reporting that Japanese officials said North Korea may have launched four missiles from the vicinity of Eastern Motoyama. Kyodo additionally reports that the missile launch may have failed, citing unnamed government officials.

  • *SUGA RESPONDS TO REPORTS OF NORTH KOREA LAUNCHING MISSILES
  • *SUGA: JAPAN HASN’T CONFIRMED MISSILES FLYING
  • *N. KOREA MISSILE LAUNCH MAY HAVE FAILED: KYODO
  • *KYODO SAYS DETAILS INCLUDING TYPE OF N. KOREA MISSILE UNKNOWN

Yonhap news is now reporting that:

  • *S. KOREA SAYS N. KOREA MISSILE DIDN'T LAUNCH PROPERLY: YONHAP
  • *YONHAP NEWS CITES UNIDENTIFIED S. KOREA MILITARY OFFICIAL
  • *S. KOREA, U.S. AWARE OF N. KOREA-RELATED SITUATION: YONHAP

North Korea test-fired a salvo of missiles Wednesday, but it ended in failure, South Korea's military said. “South Korea and the United States are aware of the related issue,” the defense ministry said in a one-sentence statement.

Bloomberg's Michael McDonough provides this excellent timeline of North Korean events and the South Korean Won…

*  *  *

As we detailed earlier, on the same day as Kim Jong Un threatens the US with “first-strike' nuclear ICBM and unveils propaganda showing the destruction of American forces, AP reports U.S. military officials expect another North Korean missile launch in the next several days.

Earlier today a Pyongyang envoy stated that North Korea will pursue “acceleration” of its nuclear and missile programs. This includes developing a “pre-emptive first strike capability” and an inter-continental ballistic missile, according to Choe Myong Nam, deputy ambassador at the DPRK (North Korean) mission to the United Nations in Geneva.

The latest development follows a previous report also from Reuters, in which it said the Trump administration is considering sweeping sanctions as part of a broad review of measures to counter North Korea's nuclear and missile threat. “I think this is stemming from the visit by the Secretary of State (Rex Tillerson) to Japan, South Korea and China…We of course are not afraid of any act like that,” Choe told Reuters.

“Even prohibition of the international transactions system, the global financial system, this kind of thing is part of their system that will not frighten us or make any difference.” He called existing sanctions “heinous and inhumane”.

Choe said his country wants a forum set up to examine the “legality and legitimacy of the sanctions regime” and denounced joint annual military exercises currently being carried out by the United States and South Korea on the divided peninsula and criticized remarks by Tillerson during his talks with regional allies last week.

“All he was talking about is for the United States to take military actions on DPRK (the Democratic People's Republic of Korea,” Choe said.

Additionally, North Korea rejects claims by Washington and Seoul that the military drills taking place at this moment are defensive. They involve strategic nuclear bombers and a nuclear submarine Columbus that recently entered South Korean ports, he said.

And then, just days after Kim threatened to reduce the US “to ashes” as tensions with North Korea continue to increase, which in turn followed a warning by Tillerson that the US is preparing for a “first strike” against the irrational dictator, while US special forces conduct drills in South Korea to “eliminate” the country's ruler, the Supreme Leader released his latest materpiece of propaganda, showing the USS Carl Vinson nuclear-powered aircraft carrier up in flames.

And now, AP reports that the U.S. military expects another North Korean missile launch in the next several days, American defense officials said Tuesday.

The officials said the U.S. has increased its surveillance over the isolated, communist country and has seen a North Korean missile launcher moving around, as well as construction of VIP seating in the eastern coastal city Wonsan.

The officials, who weren't authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity, said the new surveillance includes satellites, drones and other aircraft.

The U.S. officials on Tuesday said it's unclear what type of missile launch may be coming. North Korea previously has conducted tests in Wonsan of its medium-range ballistic Musudan missile.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer on Tuesday described the North Korean threat as “grave and escalating,” and a National Security Council official told a nuclear conference that the administration is conducting a high-priority review of North Korea policy.

Christopher Ford, senior director for weapons of mass destruction and nonproliferation on the NSC staff, said reviewers are considering a “full spectrum of possibilities.”

“There's this enormously broad continuum, and we are looking at that entire conceptual space,” Ford told the Carnegie International Nuclear Policy Conference. He gave no concrete examples, but in an attempt to illustrate his point that the choices run the gamut, he said they range from “warm hamburger” to “war hammers.”



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