South Korea Military Closely Monitoring for New North Korea Missile Launch
South Korean and U.S. military officials have been closely monitoring North Korea following a threat by the regime to conduct a new ballistic missile test.
Analysts believed such a test could take place on Tuesday—which could be Monday in the U.S. due to the time difference—marking the founding of North Korea’s communist Worker’s Party.
South Korea’s military has been in a high state of monitoring and readiness alongside the U.S. military, South Korean media reported.
“We have yet to detect any signs of immediate provocations from North Korea,” a South Korean military source told South Korean Yonhap News Agency.
“We are maintaining an upgraded monitoring effort to guard against any developments,” the source said.
A U-2S high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft has been deployed by the U.S. Air Force to monitor potential military movements by the North.
A South Korean Aegis destroyer has also been deployed. The warship is equipped with a SPY-1D radar that can detect a missile launch within a range of 200 miles.
The threat of an imminent missile launch came after Russian lawmakers who visited North Korea last week said they were told by officials a new test launch was being prepared. The Russian delegation said they were also presented with calculations showing the missile would be able to reach the U.S. mainland.
Also, a top CIA official for the Korean Peninsula, said that the United States was expecting some new provocation from Kim on Oct. 10.
“I told my own staff October 10 is the Korean Workers Party founding day, that’s Tuesday in North Korea, but that’s Monday, Columbus Day holiday in the U.S., so stand by your phones,” Yong Suk Lee, deputy assistant director of the CIA’s Korea Mission Center, told students and reporters at George Washington University.
Since coming to power in 2011 Kim Jong Un has sped up the country’s nuclear weapons program, conducting as many as 85 missile tests according to the U.S. State Department.
President Donald Trump on Monday tweeted that policies under previous U.S. administrations have failed to contain the North Korean nuclear threat.
“Our country has been unsuccessfully dealing with North Korea for 25 years, giving billions of dollars & getting nothing. Policy didn’t work!,” Trump wrote on Twiter.
Our country has been unsuccessfully dealing with North Korea for 25 years, giving billions of dollars & getting nothing. Policy didn't work!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 9, 2017
Trump has vowed to protect the U.S. against North Korea’s nuclear aggression, saying that only denuclearization is an option for the North’s regime. He has also been fiercely critical of talks with the North, pointing to the fact that 25 years of negotiations were unable to stop the North from developing its nuclear weapons.