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N. Korea Missile Launch

Kim Jong Un
Kim Jong Un
Kim Jong Un
Kim Jong-un, born January 8, 1983, is the "supreme leader" of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. He is the son of Kim Jong-il and the grandson of Kim Il-sung. Here he is mobbed during a tour of a women's subunit of the Korean People's Army in this shot issued by the Korean Central News Agency. | Photo: Korean Central News Agency | Kim Jong Un, North Korea, Girls, Military, Dictator, Smile,

Launch capability has gone from a joke to very serious

Today, Ms. Kelly Magsamen, Performing the Duties of Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs; ROK Deputy Minister of National Defense for Policy Yoo Jeh-seung; and Japan Director General for Defense Policy Satoshi Maeda co-chaired a trilateral interagency video conference.

The video conference was held to share information among the three countries regarding the recent North Korean missile launches conducted on June 21, 2016. These and other North Korean missile launches are violations of UN Security Council Resolutions that explicitly prohibit North Korea's use of ballistic missile technology.

All three countries reiterated their strong condemnation of these launches and urged North Korea to refrain from provocative actions that undermine peace and security and instead focus on fulfilling its international obligations and commitments. The three noted that North Korea's provocations would only strengthen the resolve of the international community.

The United States reaffirms its ironclad alliance commitments to defend the ROK and Japan. The United States will continue to work closely with the ROK and Japan, as well as the international community, to address North Korea's provocative actions.

A brief history


On February 7, 2016, roughly a month after an alleged hydrogen bomb test, North Korea claimed to have put a satellite into orbit around the Earth. Japanese Prime Minister Shinz┼Ź Abe had warned the North to not launch the rocket, and if it did and the rocket violated Japanese territory, it would be shot down. Nevertheless, North Korea launched the rocket anyway, claiming the satellite was purely intended for peaceful, scientific purposes. Several nations, including the United States, Japan, and South Korea, have criticized the launch, and despite North Korean claims that the rocket was for peaceful purposes, it has been heavily criticized as an attempt to perform an ICBM test under the guise of a peaceful satellite launch. China also criticized the launch, however urged "the relevant parties" to "refrain from taking actions that may further escalate tensions on the Korean peninsula".

While some North Korean pronouncements have been treated with skepticism and ridicule, analysts are treating the unusual pace of North Korean rocket and nuclear testing in early 2016 quite seriously. At an extreme, Admiral Bill Gortney, head of the North American Aerospace Defense Command, told Congress in March 2016, "It's the prudent decision on my part to assume that [Kim Jong Un] has the capability to miniaturize a nuclear weapon and put it on an ICBM," suggesting a major shift from a few years earlier.

North Korea appeared to launch a missile test from a submarine on 23 April 2016; while the missile only traveled 30 km, one U.S. analyst noted that "North Korea's sub launch capability has gone from a joke to something very serious".

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Updated Aug 12, 2017 12:01 PM EDT | More details

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