The official said that when such equipment is seen, a launch could occur within six days
The last major North Korean missile test took place on July 4
North Korea appears to be preparing for another missile test, according to a US Defense official. The official said that transporter vehicles carrying ballistic missile launching equipment were seen arriving in Kusong, North Korea on Friday.
The official said that when such equipment is seen, a launch could occur within six days, which would coincide with the upcoming July 27 North Korean Holiday celebrating the armistice which ended the Korean War.
Last Wednesday, CNN reported that US intelligence indicated that North Korea is making preparations for another intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) or intermediate range missile test. Two administration officials familiar with the latest intelligence confirmed they’d seen indicators of test preparations. US satellites have detected new imagery and satellite-based radar emissions indicating that North Korea may be testing components and missile control facilities for another ICBM or intermediate launch, officials say.
Kusong has been the site of North Korean missile tests in the past, including a May test of a KN-17 intermediate range missile which traveled almost 500 miles before splashing down in the Sea of Japan/East Sea, hitting the water about 60 miles from Vladivostok in eastern Russia, according to US officials.
The last major North Korean missile test took place on July 4, when Pyongyang launched what the US assessed to be an intercontinental ballistic missile.
The US military has grown increasingly concerned about the increased pace of North Korean missile testing while simultaneously underscoring that the US is capable of defending itself and its allies from North Korean missiles.
“They’re clearly on a path to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile that can reach the reach the United States and to match that with a nuclear weapon,” the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Joseph Dunford, told an audience Saturday at the Aspen Security Forum.
“What the North Koreans are capable of today is limited missile attack and we are capable of defending against a limited missile attack for our forces in South Korea, our South Korean allies, our Japanese allies, our forces in Okinawa, our forces in Guam and the American homeland,” Dunford added.
On Thursday, CIA Director Mike Pompeo offered some of the most aggressive comments yet from the Trump administration with regard to North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.
“It would be a great thing to denuclearize the peninsula, to get those weapons off of that, but the thing that is most dangerous about it is the character who holds the control over them today,” Pompeo said at the Aspen Security Forum.
“As for the regime, I am hopeful we will find a way to separate that regime from this system,” Pompeo said. “The North Korean people I’m sure are lovely people and would love to see him go.”
CNN’s Eli Watkins contributed to this report.