US, South Korea say North Korea's latest missile test fails

US, South Korea say North Korea's latest missile test fails

The US military has observed activity in North Korea that suggests Pyongyang may be gearing up for another nuclear test, a US official said Thursday. The report says the USA has seen evidence Pyongyang has finished digging new tunnels around the Punggye-ri nuclear test site, but it would still have to bring more equipment into the area for a test.

Speaking by telephone, the official also declined to comment on whether there were fresh signs pointing to an imminent test.

In his New Year's address in January, he said that North Korea had "entered the final stage of preparation for the test launch of intercontinental ballistic missile".

Tillerson's suggestion the U.S. would consider military options isn't realistic given the ability of North Korea to retaliate and inflict immeasurable damage on the densely packed South Korean population, according to Robert Kelly, a political science associate professor at South Korea's Pusan National University.

Deputy ambassador at the North Korean mission to the United Nations in Geneva, Choe Nam, told Reuters that this, includes developing a "pre-emptive first strike capability" and an Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM).

Euan Graham, director of global security at Australia's Lowy Institute, said the North Korea's twin civilian and military rocket programs may have "become so sophisticated they're moving on separate tracks".

Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson has given indications that the Trump administration has adopted a new, tougher policy against North Korea in an effort to control the North's nuclear weapons program.




A North Korean missile exploded immediately after launch yesterday, a setback for Kim Jong-un but another illustration of the aggressive pace of his regime's weapons testing programme. The U.S. military said the training was held after the bomber staged a similar exercise with Japanese fighter jets. The Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe condemns the missile launch during a visit with US President Donald Trump.

North Korea has stated that its goal is to develop a nuclear device small enough to be placed on a long-range missile capable of reaching the United States.

Meeting in Seoul, Kim Hong-kyun, South Korea's special representative for Korean Peninsula peace and security affairs, and his USA counterpart Joseph Yun reaffirmed a commitment to push Kim harder to drop its push for nuclear weapons.

Seoul on Wednesday repatriated the remains of 28 Chinese soldiers killed in the Korean War, despite a heated row between the two countries over a USA missile defense system. USA officials confirmed North Korea's plan had been for five missiles, but one failed to launch. Earlier on Sunday, he was displeased at the North's recent test of an advanced engine for an ICBM. But that requires China to recognize that South Korea's next president is unlikely to cancel the THAAD deployment, given the threat North Korea poses.

North Korea's last nuclear test had an estimated yield of about 10 kilotons, two-thirds of the destructive power of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima.

Against the background of the launch, South Korea and the United States continued their annual "Foal Eagle" military exercises, which often provoke retaliation from the North Koreans.

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