The North Korea threat is continuing after a US official claimed the country may test medium range ballistic missiles at any time.
The US official added that the claim was made based on recent satellite footage, though it is impossible for the United States to reach a definitive conclusion because they do not have the ability to gather information on the ground.
The Obama administration also believes that North Korea may not issue a standard notice to commercial aviation and maritime shipping about the missile test due to current tensions in the region. The official added:
“We hope they issue a notification, but at this point we don’t expect it. We are working on the assumption they won’t.”
The United States has been able to keep satellites over the suspicious area for most of the past week. The tensions escalated two weeks ago when North Korea declared that the ceasefire with South Korea was voided. Since then, the North has issued several threats about impending nuclear war.
Along with the US official’s warning, South Korea also raised its alert with the North to “vital threat.” South Korean sources also confirmed that at least one ballistic missile with a 2,000-mile range is fueled and ready for launch. North Korea moved two Musudan missiles to its east coast.
The Musudan missile was unveiled during a military parade three years ago, but it has not yet been tested. South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se told parliament that the launch could happen at any time. If it goes forward with its plans, North Korea’s test launch would be in violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1718, which was passed in 2006.
The resolution bans the North from conducting “any further nuclear test or launch of a ballistic missile.” But North Korea has so far ignored the resolution. The country has performed three known nuclear tests and launched a satellite into space in the last year. The country has also tested intermediate missiles during times of crisis and tension.
Given the information and threats from North Korea, it appears a missile test is imminent.