Top general: Latest North Korea missile test not ‘particularly provocative’
The top general in the U.S. military on Tuesday said that he does not view North Korea’s latest missile test as “particularly provocative.”
“It’s mixed right now in terms of the assessment,” Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley said at a Pentagon briefing Tuesday. “I don’t think it’s particularly provocative or threatening to us as to what happened. It may be tied to some celebrations that are happening inside North Korea, as opposed to any deliberate provocation against us.”
“These are short range,” Milley said, adding that the missiles aren’t “particularly big.”
Milley also said it would take “another day or two” for intelligence on the test to be clearer.
South Korea’s military said Tuesday that the North had launched what were believed to be cruise missiles from the ground into the Sea of Japan and air-to-surface missiles from fighter jets into the sea. If confirmed as cruise missiles, the test would mark the first time in three years Pyongyang has launched such missiles.
United Nations Security Council resolutions prohibit North Korea from ballistic missile activities but not cruise missiles.
North Korea conducted a slew of short-range ballistic missile tests in March amid large-scale live-fire military training.
On Wednesday, North Korea celebrates the birth of founder Kim Il Sung, the grandfather of current leader Kim Jong Un. Pyongyang has in the past conducted missile tests, as well as massive parades and other military displays, around the state holiday.
The latest test also comes a day before South Korea’s parliamentary elections, which could affect the future direction of Seoul’s policy toward Pyongyang.
U.S. diplomacy with North Korea has stalled since President Trump walked away from a summit with Kim last year without a denuclearization deal.
Last month, Trump sent Kim a letter offering to help North Korea with the coronavirus pandemic. North Korea officially says it has no cases of the virus, but U.S. officials have said they do not believe that is true.
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