The North Korea has just fired “several banned ballistic missiles that flew about 1,000 km into ocean off its east coast,” according to the South Korean source of AP.
The missiles came from a launch facility that was banned by the UN before. The missile was then fired from the Tongchang-ri region, near North’s border in China.
It was just last month when the North Korean military boasted about their successful test-fire for a new ballistic missile. It was said that their leader Kim Jong-un was there to supervise. However, for the launch today, it was not confirmed if Jong-un was in attendance.
According to CNN, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has confirmed that there were four ballistic missiles, one of which has landed in Japan’s Exclusive Economic Zone.
This aggressive move from North Korea was said to be a statement after South Korea and the U.S. held joint military exercises. Pyongyang reportedly saw this as a hint for invasion.
These exercises, known as Foal Eagle, is said to be defensive in nature. However, North Korea does not agree. They see the Foal Eagle as a forward move to dominating their nation.
“Now that the US imperialists and the South Korean puppet forces again kicked off the dangerous nuclear war drills against the DPRK at its doorstep, our army will counter them with the toughest counteractions,” North Korea said in a statement.
These ballistic missiles may not be North Korea’s only ammo. Last year, they also said that they have nuclear warheads that can fit on missiles. They also said that they have already successfully tested a hydrogen bomb last February. Again, this was their response for the said Foal Eagle operations.
The North Korean state media said that their leader Kim Jong Un has met with multiple nuclear scientists and technicians to explain the “research conducted to tip various type tactical and strategic ballistic missiles with nuclear warheads.”
The State Media also published photos of Kim Jong-Un in one of these facilities. That was the first time their state media photographed the warheads they were referring to.
CNN noted that they were not able to confirm the authenticity of the photos since they were not allowed to visit the facilities nor photograph in North Korea.
Trigger After Trigger, North Korea Is Not Bluffing
Abe has already been surprised by the attack, but David Albright of the Institute for Science and International Security told CNN that he believes the North Korean military already has a working warhead on their end.
The blazing missiles this Monday just confirmed that they have already laid the foundation of the missiles.
In 2014, a South Korean Defense White Paper noted that the North Koreans have “reached a considerable level” in their goal to create nuclear warheads.
Accordng to Karl Dewey, a proliferation expert with HIS Jane’s, a military, security, and intelligence analysis organization, said that progress may have really been made.
“And it is possible that the silver sphere is a simple atomic bomb. But it is not a hydrogen bomb, also known as a thermonuclear bomb,” he said, explaining that a thermonuclear device probably would be a different shape because of its two stages.
“Thermonuclear weapons are multistage devices, and the need to place two separate parts — the primary and secondary — would give a more oblong-like structure,” Dewey said. “As such, the device on the table is unlikely to be a thermonuclear device. It could be a boosted bomb, but that is not a hydrogen bomb by definition.”
Though experts were still skeptic these missiles will reach the U.S. soil, the event this morning may change all that.
“The point here is that with every test, the North Koreans are going to learn something and they’re going to make progress. And we probably should not underestimate their capability… if not today, then tomorrow,” said Bonnie Glaser, senior adviser for Asia at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
[Featured Image by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images]