NORTH KOREA MISSILE TEST
North Korea is preparing to conduct new missile tests amid heightened tensions in Northeast Asia.
U.S. intelligence agencies say Pyongyang will likely conduct a new salvo of missile launches following the latest round of United Nations sanctions against the reclusive communist state.
The world organization on Dec. 1 imposed additional sanctions that seek to block North Korea’s revenue obtained from exports by 25 percent. The sanctions bar member-states from purchasing North Korean copper, nickel, silver and zinc exports, and the sale of large statues, a favored purchase for African dictators. The sanctions followed a recent North Korean underground nuclear test.
In the past, Pyongyang responded to similar sanctions with provocative missile launches.
North Korea’s most recent missile test was a failed launch of an intermediate-range ballistic missile called the Musudan in October. The missile has an estimated range of 2,000 miles and its development has set off alarm bells in the Pentagon and in Japan. Officials said the next missile test could be a Musudan launch to counteract the earlier test failure.
Military officials said the North Koreans are engaged in an impressive missile development program for systems of varying ranges and launch modes.
North Korea has yet to launch one of its new road-mobile KN-08 intercontinental ballistic missiles. The new ICBM is deployed on Chinese-made missile launchers that are banned under international sanctions on Pyongyang.
North Korea has conducted several tests of a new submarine-launched missile known as the KN-11. The most recent flight test of the missile took place in August. North Korea also has conducted five underground nuclear tests, the most recent one on Sept. 9.
U.S. intelligence agencies estimate the North Korean nuclear arsenal includes between 10 and 20 warheads.