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N. Korea likely has more ICBM tests in store: Sullivan

Diplomacy 22:40 March 25, 2022

By Byun Duk-kun

WASHINGTON, March 25 (Yonhap) -- North Korea will likely conduct more missile tests down the road as part of its pattern of provocation, U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said Friday.

His remarks came after North Korea conducted its first intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) test in more than four years Thursday (Seoul time).

"We see this as part of a pattern of testing and provocation from North Korea that has played out over the course of the past month and will continue to play out," Sullivan said in a press briefing aboard Air Force One on a visit to Europe.

"We think there is likely more in store," he added.

A Hwasong-17 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) is moved from storage for a test at Pyongyang International Airport on March 24, 2022, in this photo captured from the North's Central TV on March 25. (For Use Only in the Republic of Korea. No Redistribution) (Yonhap)

Thursday's missile launch marked the North's 12th missile test this year, and its first ICBM launch since late 2017 when it began a self-imposed moratorium on nuclear and long-range missile testing.

Sullivan noted the U.S. had warned of a North Korean ICBM test by taking an "unusual step" of declassifying its intelligence.

The U.S. earlier said the North's two missile launches staged Feb. 27 and March 5 had involved a new ICBM system.

"In that statement, we warned that there would be more ICBM tests and that's what happened here," the White House official said.

Sullivan said there was no "particular indication" that the latest North Korean missile test may have been planned to coincide with President Joe Biden's ongoing trip to Europe when asked.

"Some of what is, you know, may be driving the tempo of the testing relates to the the badly failed tests that occurred just a few days ago, but most of the decision making on their nuclear testing program occurs within the context of the Korean Peninsula and North Korean view of its security situation, not what's happening with President Biden's travel schedule," he said.

bdk@yna.co.kr
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