North Korea’s missile test on Sunday highlights the country’s frantic efforts to accelerate its nuclear weapons program while political uncertainty has gripped the United States and South Korea, analysts said. “They see an opportunity to race ahead and get as much nuclear weapons capability in place as possible,” David Albright, president of the Institute for Science and International Security, said Sunday.
North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency claimed the missile was a “new ground-to-ground medium long-range strategic ballistic rocket” that’s “capable of carrying a large-size heavy nuclear warhead.”.
The missile test comes only days after a new president, Moon Jae-in, assumed the presidency of South Korea. It is the seventh missile launch this year as a new administration establishes itself in Washington. Moon expressed “deep regret” over the North’s missile, which flew for about 30 minutes before dropping into the Sea of Japan. The White House also criticized the launch. “North Korea has been a flagrant menace for far too long,” the White House said in a statement. “The United States maintains our ironclad commitment to stand with our allies in the face of the serious threat posed by North Korea.”
It’s not unusual for a new administration in Washington to be tested by foreign rivals in the early months of the presidency. Trump has been forced to deal with a string of provocative actions from North Korea.
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