North Korean missile launch suspected as US, South Korea begin military drills off Korean Peninsula
Such military exercises incite North Korea, which is more likely to launch a missile during such activities.Navy SEALs swim back to guided-missile submarine USS Michigan during an exercise for certification on SEAL delivery-vehicle operations in the southern Pacific Ocean. (US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kristopher Kirsop)
As the United States and South Korea begin new military drills this week, all eyes are on North Korea.
Five days of naval drills began Monday off the coast of the Korean Peninsula.
Military drills tend to incite North Korea, who views them as rehearsal for invasion of its country. There is always speculation that North Korea is more likely to fire a missile during such events.
South Korea’s daily The Dong-A Ilbo over the weekend reported that there is evidence North Korea might be preparing for a missile launch, according to its government sources, as transporter-erector launches (TEL) have been spotted in several regions.
The Dong-A Ilbo reported:
According to a government source Friday, a U.S. satellite recently captured images of North Korean ballistic missiles mounted on TEL being transported out of a hangar to somewhere in areas near Pyongyang and North Pyongan Province. Korean and U.S. military officials are keeping an eye on the situation as they view this as a sign of preparation for the launch of a missile comparable to Hwasong-14 inter-continental ballistic missile (ICBM) or Hwasong-12 intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM). Another probability is the North might be preparing for the launch of a new Hwasong-13 ICBM (solid engine) that has a longer maximum range than Hwasong-14.
The USS Michigan attack submarine arrived in South Korea last week, and it was expected to be joined by a U.S. aircraft and the USS Ronald Reagan, the U.S.’s forward-deployed aircraft carrier based in Japan; as well as some Arleigh Berke-class destroyers.
North Korea most recently threatened to bomb Guam again, this in light of what Pyongyang refers to as “reckless moves” by the U.S.
The nation last fired a missile on Sept. 14, this one an intermediate-range ballistic missile that flew over Japan and into the Pacific Ocean.