S. Korea: N. Korea launches ballistic missile


Associated Press

SEOUL, South Korea

North Korea today test-launched a ballistic missile that flew about 435 miles, South Korea’s military said, a possible response to the election four days ago of a new South Korean president and as U.S., Japanese and European militaries gather for war games in the Pacific.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff confirmed the early- morning launch but had few other details, including what type of ballistic missile was fired.

A statement said that the missile was fired from near Kusong City, in North Phyongan province, and that the South Korean and U.S. militaries are analyzing the details.

Outsiders will be especially interested in what kind of projectile was fired. While North Korea regularly tests shorter-range missiles, it is also working to master the technology needed to field nuclear-tipped missiles that can reach the U.S. mainland.

North Korea’s past long-range satellite launches have been called clandestine tests of ICBM technology, but it is not believed to have tested a true intercontinental ballistic missile yet. The Trump administration has called North Korean ballistic and nuclear efforts unacceptable and has swung between threats of military action and offers to talk as it formulates a policy.

The launch also comes as troops from the U.S., Japan and two European nations gather on remote U.S. islands in the Pacific for drills that are partly a message to North Korea.

The USS Carl Vinson, an aircraft supercarrier, is also engaging with South Korean navy ships in waters off the Korean Peninsula, according to Seoul’s Defense Ministry.

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