North Korea fires 1st ballistic missile in over 2 months, US off - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

North Korea fires 1st ballistic missile in over 2 months, US official says


(ABC News) - North Korea has launched its 15th ballistic missile of 2017, according to a U.S. official, marking the latest act of provocation by the hermit nation and its first test in over two months.

South Korea's Yonhap news agency was the first to report the launch, which occurred locally in the early morning hours Wednesday, citing South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff.

“North Korea launched an unidentified ballistic missile eastward from the vicinity of Pyongsong, South Pyongan Province, at dawn today,” the Joint Chiefs of Staff said, according to Yonhap.

Pentagon spokesperson Col. Rob Manning reported that it "detected a probable missile launch from North Korea" at "approximately 1:30 p.m. EST," which would be 3:00 a.m. Wednesday in North Korea's capital of Pyongyang.

"We are in the process of assessing the situation and will provide additional details when available," Manning added. The type of missile used in the test was not immediately known.

The launch marks the end of the longest stretch of time that the regime has not conducted a test since U.S. President Donald Trump took office in January. North Korea tested its first missile of the year on Feb. 11, 22 days after Trump's inauguration. From March to May, the regime conducted tests every one to two weeks.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders tweeted Tuesday afternoon that Trump had been briefed on the situation "while [the] missile was still in the air."

The most recent missile launch occurred on Sept. 14, 75 days ago.

On Aug. 8, Trump threatened the regime with "fire and fury like the world has never seen," prompting North Korean leader Kim Jong Unto say he would consider sending missiles into the waters off the coast of Guam in "mid-August."

Several weeks later, North Korea fired three short-range ballistic missiles not toward Guam but into the Sea of Japan.

North Korea's last test of a ballistic missile was on Sept. 15, an intermediate-range KN-17 that flew over the Japanese island of Hokkaido.

The Trump administration has said all military options remain on the table when dealing with the North Korean threat, but top U.S. officials have consistently emphasized the U.S. is pursuing a diplomatically led effort, including additional economic pressure.

Secretary of Defense James Mattis said earlier in November, during the pause in testing, that "there would be an opportunity for talks" "so long as they stop testing, stop developing" and "don't export their weapons," according to a Reuters report.

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