The United States Strategic Command has confirmed to news persons that North Korea, on Saturday, unsuccessfully tested a ballistic missile system near the northwestern city of Kusong. According to military officials, the test did not pose any threat to the U.S. or North America. According to Reuters, this failed ballistic missile test was the latest in a series conducted by North Korea in violation of United Nations resolutions. Following the test, Pentagon spokesman Gary Ross issued a statement that condemned North Korea’s decision to conduct the test.
“We strongly condemn this and North Korea’s other recent missile tests, which violate UN Security Council Resolutions explicitly prohibiting North Korea’s launches using ballistic missile technology. Our commitment to the defense of our allies, including the Republic of Korea and Japan, in the face of these threats, is ironclad. We remain prepared to defend ourselves and our allies from any attack or provocation.”
He also issued a warning to North Korea while adding that the issue would be raised at the U.N. as well.
“We intend to raise our concerns at the UN to bolster international resolve in holding the DPRK accountable for these actions.”
Ross said the United States called on North Korea to “refrain from actions that further raise tensions in the region.”
Apart from the Pentagon, the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) too confirmed that the ballistic missile launch did happen and that it did not pose an immediate threat to North America.
Incidentally, the news of this ballistic test by North Korea comes just one day after the U.S., Japan, and South Korea held a trilateral meeting discussing the regional aspect of the threat North Korea poses. The meeting, which was held at the Pentagon on Friday, was attended by senior military officials from the three countries. The Pentagon issued a press release following the meeting which read as follows.
“The senior military leaders met to discuss trilateral collaboration in order to respond to increasing North Korean nuclear and missile threats.”
The press note went on to add that the latest meeting was the third such meeting between the three countries since July of 2014, and that it was held to highlight the increasing threat of North Korean nuclear and missile technologies.
The officials who were part of the meeting included Army Gen. Vincent K. Brooks, commander of Combined Forces Command and U.S. Forces Korea; South Korean Chairman Army Gen. Lee Sun-jin; Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; Japanese Chief of Defense Adm. Katsutoshi Kawano; and U.S. Pacific Command commander, Navy Adm. Harry B. Harris, Jr.
Among the topic of discussion was a recent nuclear test conducted by North Korea on September 9. This blast, estimated at twice the size of the nuclear device dropped on Hiroshima in 1945, was the fifth nuclear test conducted by North Korea since 2006. What made that test important was the fact that the nuclear warhead used for that explosion was small enough to be mounted on a nuclear tipped ballistic missile. The latest ballistic missile test is now believed to be linked to the earlier nuclear test.
Following the trilateral meeting, all three military leaders unanimously agreed that the nuclear tests conducted by North Korea in September were “flagrant violations of U.N. Security Council resolutions.” They also agreed to “firmly respond to the acts in coordination with each other.” They called upon North Korea to “refrain from irresponsible provocation that aggravate regional tensions, and to instead focus on fulfilling its international obligations and commitments.”
Meanwhile, efforts are already underway to speed up deployment of the THAAD anti-missile system to South Korea due to the increasing pace at which North Korea seems to be developing its ballistic missile technology. Senior military officials confirmed that the THAAD anti-missile system will be stationed there “as soon as possible.”
[Featured Image by KRT/AP]