The regime of North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un seems to be preparing for carrying out a new test launch of a ballistic missile which could of intercontinental (ICBM) or intermediate range (IRBM), according to a report citing US intelligence information.
On July 4, North Korea’s regime recently carried out a new ballistic missile test, and claimed that the rocket was the much coveted intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).
According to experts, the newly tested North Korean ICBM is unlikely to have the capacity to deliver nuclear weapons.
It was North Korea’s 12th rocket test (and ninth successful one) since US President Donald Trump assumed office in January.
South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in has warned North Korea not to cross a “red line.” Moon’s vision of dealing with the North Korean regime stipulates a heavy focus on dialogue and engagement.
A US nuclear expert warned that Kim Jong-un might be coming closer to being able to produce a hydrogen bomb, also known as thermonuclear weapon, as it is able to produce tritium, a key element.
North Korea recently carried out a new test of a rocket engine that could be used for powering an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), the weapon that can threaten directly the US mainland.
On behalf of the Kim Jong-un regime, North Korea’s Ambassador to India in June offered the US a conditional moratorium on his country’s nuclear and ballistic missile tests.
The offer came against the backdrop of the death of US college student Otto Warmbier who passed away after 17 months in North Korean captivity, and for which Pyongyang denied responsibility, and of South Korea’s decision to suspend the further deployment of the US THAAD missile shield.
In other North Korea-related developments, US President Trump has warned that America can employ “severe things” against the North Korean regime, the US has conducted a successful THAAD test, while China has rejected the notion that it bears responsibility for the North Korean regime.
Earlier this week, South Korea said it had no major differences with the US over the possibility of holding negotiations with North Korea, after earlier the US government appeared lukewarm on Seoul’s proposal to hold inter-Korean military and Red Cross talks with the regime of Kim Jong-un for the first time and 3 and 2 years, respectively.
‘Grown in Sophistication’
North Korea appears to be preparing for another test launch of a ballistic missile of intercontinental or intermediate range in the next two weeks, CNN reported on Wednesday.
It quoted two US administration officials as saying that the indications appear in the latest intelligence.
US satellites have detected new imagery and satellite-based radar emissions indicating North Korea may be testing components and missile control facilities for another ICBM or intermediate launch, officials say.
The US is watching in particular for further testing of North Korean radars and communications that could be used in a launch. The next test launch would be the first since North Korea successfully launched an ICBM on July 4.
At the same time, officials say that North Korea is continuing to test components to launch a missile from a submarine but the US intelligence assessment is that program remains in early stages.
This latest intelligence about a potential second ICBM test comes as the second highest ranking US military officer has warned Congress that North Korea’s deception techniques to mask their missile launches have grown in sophistication.
“I am reasonably confident in the ability of our intelligence community to monitor the testing but not the deployment of these missile systems. Kim Jong Un and his forces are very good at camouflage concealment and deception” General Paul Selva, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the Senate armed services committee on Tuesday.
Selva gave the strongest public indication so far that the US believes the current North Korean ICBM still has limitations.
In his words, Pyongyang has yet to demonstrate the “capacity to strike the United States with any degree of accuracy or reasonable confidence of success.”
Selva said North Korean guidance and control systems for a long range missile still would have to be improved before a missile could actually strike the US…