North Korea may test launch two intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) soon. The claim has been supported by South Korean intelligence agencies. South Korean intelligence agencies state that they had seen missile parts being transported on ground. They believe the parts that they spotted belong to the lower half of the missile. As a result, South Korea was monitoring the situation, revealed an official from Seoul’s Joint Chiefs of Staff.
However, South Korea is not the only one to notice the activity. US satellites too marked an increased activity in Chamjin missile factory. Additionally, another US monitoring service notified authorities about increased activity at the Yongbyon nuclear site. Experts opine that this indicates that North Korea is upping its plutonium production to suffice its nuclear arsenal in coming days.
According to a report in CNN, unnamed US officials said that they do not have more or clear information on the matter. Hence, they did not comment on the date of the launch and types of missiles involved. However, they did say that the launch could take place on mobile launchers. This means that north Korea would give little or no notice before the launch.
An article in VOA News states anonymous US officials believe that the missiles are already placed on the mobile launchers. The road mobile launchers can be kept hidden or moving. This made them difficult for any country to track and stop them, states a report in Reuters. Military experts believe that North Korea is capable of conducting the ICBM tests. However, its timing is uncanny. News of the tests comes at a time of President-elect Donald trump’s inauguration.
Message to Trump?
Experts believe that North Korea is giving out a strategic message to Trump and his administration as he takes over the White House. According to reports, this message is a response to Trump’s tweet “it won’t happen.” Another CNN report reveals that earlier in the month Trump had tweeted that “North Korea just stated that it is in the final stages of developing a nuclear weapon capable of reaching parts of the U.S. It won’t happen!”
North Korea just stated that it is in the final stages of developing a nuclear weapon capable of reaching parts of the U.S. It won't happen!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 2, 2017
Many believe that a surprise ICBM launch could humiliate Trump and his administration earlier on in the office. However, there are others, who believe that North Korea’s ICBM testing is nothing about strategic message, but more of a routine. The country had conducted similar tests when Obama assumed office during his first and second term. However, while the Pentagon declined to comment on the matter, South Korea is maintaining a “military readiness posture.”
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