US to probe North Korea’s unusual missile test
The US intelligence community is trying to ascertain whether North Korea tested a ballistic missile with properties Washington has not seen before earlier this week.
On Wednesday, North Korea’s launch of three ballistic missiles included one that flew an unusual trajectory, according to three US officials. The missile had a flight path that the officials described as a “double arc,” with the missile descending twice before ascending.
The trajectory indicated that the aim was to test North Korea’s ability to fire a missile and have it re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere to reach a target.
It is pertinent to state that the second phase of the missile’s “double arc” was a re-entry vehicle breaking off from the main missile. However, it is not yet fully clear to the US officials if that was all part of the planned flight path.
“The United States, the ROK, and Japan express deep concern about the May 25 DPRK launches of an intercontinental ballistic missile and shorter-range ballistic missiles,” read a statement from US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi, South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin on Friday. “The DPRK has significantly increased the pace and scale of its ballistic missile launches since September 2021. Each of these launches violated multiple UNSC resolutions and posed a grave threat to the region and the international community.”
The US intelligence assessment of all test launches is still in the preliminary stages, the officials confirmed. The missile tests followed Joe Biden’s trip to the region, which included a stop in South Korea.
It is unclear which of the three missiles launched had an unusual flight pattern. Japan had publicly hinted that one of the missiles flew in an unusual manner, with Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi terming it an “irregular trajectory.”