North Korea Fires Two Missiles After Four Year Silence
Two cruise missiles were fired off North Korea’s western coastal town of Onchon on Sunday morning, but Pentagon informed about the test on Tuesday afternoon.
North Korea fired two short-range missiles at the weekend, U.S. and South Korean officials said, but Washington played down the first such tests under President Joe Biden and said it was still open to dialogue with Pyongyang.
The North Korean activity involved weapons systems at the low end of the spectrum that were not covered by U.N. Security Council testing bans, two senior officials of the Biden administration told a briefing call on Tuesday.
Seoul had detected signs a test was imminent and was monitoring it in real time, a JCS official told reporters on Wednesday. The JCS reports North Korea’s testing of advanced weapons such as nuclear bombs and ballistic missiles nearly in real time but not some tests of lower grade, shorter range weapons.
There’s no new wrinkle in what they did, Mr. Biden told reporters.
The launch marks North Korea’s first publicly known weapons test since Mr. Biden took office in January.
But President Biden downplayed the latest activity, saying nothing much has changed, while one senior official said it was normal testing and warned against hyping it.
No, according to the Defense Department it’s business as usual. There’s no new wrinkle in what they did, Biden told reporters upon his return from a visit to Ohio, when asked if the test was a provocation.
The Pentagon declined comment on the test.
North Korea has not tested a nuclear weapon or an ICBM since 2017, but conducted repeated tests of shorter-ranges missiles after the Hanoi summit broke down.