US Prepares for Test of North Korean Missile

Next launch of ICBM could be to determine its range
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 10, 2022 6:10 PM CST
US Prepares for Test of North Korean Missile
People watch a TV showing a file image of a North Korean missile launch at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, last weekend.   (AP Photo /Ahn Young-joon)

North Korea is in the middle of testing a new intercontinental ballistic missile, US officials said Thursday, prompting an increase in the readiness level for American missile defense forces in Asia. The tests are being conducted openly this time, officials said, allowing them to prepare for what they expect to be an attempt to determine the range of the new missile, the New York Times reports. It's had two smaller tests in the past two weeks; the next launch could be much larger and disguised as a space launch, a Pentagon spokesman said.

The March 4 and Feb. 26 launches were to test cameras for a future spy satellite, North Korea said. The new ICBM was displayed in a Pyongyang parade in October 2020, per CNBC, but had not yet been tested. It's larger than the one launched in 2017 that appeared to have the range to strike the US, per the AP. UN resolutions forbid North Korea to launch such long-range missiles, and an official said the US will present new sanctions Friday to curb its access to weapons technology.

Part of the reason the US has revealed its new intelligence about the tests is to build support among allies for sanctions—much as it did about Russia's military buildup along the Ukraine border before the invasion. US officials don't know whether the tests were timed to occur while other nations are busy with the Russian invasion of Ukraine. North Korea has launched more than 100 missiles since 2011, almost a dozen of them since President Biden took office. It's the only nation that's tested nuclear weapons in this century. (Read more North Korea missile launch stories.)

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