North Korea reportedly launched a short-range “Scud-type” missile Monday, the country’s third missile test in about as many weeks. North Korea appears to have successfully tested medium-to-long-range missiles in the past two weeks, after a series of failures in April.
The South Korean military said the missile flew approximately 450 miles east and landed in the Sea of Japan, within Japan’s exclusive economic zone.
North Korea, releasing images of the alleged blastoff, bragged about what it claims was a “successful” test of a new and more accurate ballistic missile — one that is “capable of making ultra-precision strike on the enemies’ objects at any area,” claimed KCNA, North Korea’s state-run media arm. North Korea also claimed that it used a mobile launching system, which, if true, would allow the country to more swiftly deploy its missiles. According to Reuters, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un boasted in the state-run paper that North Korea would continue to develop more weapons, and plans to send a bigger “gift package” to the “Yankees.”
“Whenever news of our valuable victory is broadcast recently,” the KCNA also reported Kim as saying, “the Yankees would be very much worried about it and the gangsters of the South Korean puppet army would be dispirited more and more.”
Experts are skeptical of North Korea’s claims, which require further analysis. Still, North Korea has picked up the pace of its missile testing in recent weeks, even in the face of widespread international condemnation. In 2017 alone, it has conducted about a dozen missile tests.
Trump, who was briefed on North Korea’s latest action, condemned Pyongang on Twitter.
While it’s true that China has urged North Korea to cease its missile tests, it has also called on the U.S. to pare back its own saber-rattling through its joint military operations with South Korea — which Pyongyang continues to interpret as a provocation. In a statement on Monday, the Chinese foreign ministry asked both parties to “remain calm and restrained … and bring the peninsula issue onto the right track of peaceful dialogue again.”
Meanwhile, in California, the U.S. military is preparing for its own anti-missile launch Tuesday, reports CBS, a direct response to North Korea’s escalating weapons tests. The test of the ground-based interceptor, which apparently can be seen from Los Angeles, will fly into the Pacific and intercept a “target object” — a stand-in for what could be an ICBM fired off from North Korea.