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(LEAD) N. Korean missile tests provide learning experience, creating concerns for U.S.: Pentagon

North Korea 02:13 May 28, 2022

(ATTN: UPDATES with additional remarks from the Pentagon spokesperson in last 3 paras)
By Byun Duk-kun

WASHINGTON, May 27 (Yonhap) -- Every missile launched by North Korea causes concern for the United States regardless of the type of missile fired as each launch provides a learning experience that can help improve the North's missile capabilities, a Pentagon spokesperson said Friday.

Defense Department Press Secretary John Kirby also reiterated that each missile fired by North Korea violates U.N. Security Council resolutions.

"Each one is a violation of existing U.N. Security Council resolutions. Each one only increases tensions on the peninsula," Kirby said when asked about North Korea's latest missile tests that took place earlier this week.

"And each one. no matter what kind of missile or no matter how far it flew or didn't fly, no matter what the trajectory or the metrics were, each one, we believe, is a learning experience for the regime in Pyongyang and that's concerning," he added.

U.S. Department of Defense spokesperson John Kirby (R) is seen taking questions in a daily press briefing at the Pentagon in Washington on May 27, 2022 in this image captured from the department's website. (Yonhap)

North Korea fired three ballistic missiles on Tuesday (Seoul time), including an apparent intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

The launches marked the 17th of their kind this year. The North is also believed to be preparing for a nuclear test, which, if conducted, will mark the first of its kind since September 2017, and seventh in history.

Kirby declined to provide additional details of the latest North Korean missile launch even when pressed, only saying the U.S. is still analyzing them.

"I am not going to get into the intelligence and analysis that's been done on these multiple launches," he said. "We are continuing to look at that, continuing to consult with our allies and partners in the region."

Kirby also underscored the U.S.' strong alliances with South Korea and Japan, noting the U.S. has conducted joint military exercises separately with both countries in response to the latest North Korean missile tests.

"I would remind that those two exercises that we conducted with Japan and South Korea in the wake of the most recent launch were in response to the missile launches," he said when asked if and how the U.S. plans to increase its deterrence against North Korea.

"In other words, they were put together and executed very quickly, and that doesn't happen by accident. That happens because of the good alliance management and prior knowledge and familiarity with one another's military capabilities and the constant training and operating that we do with both our allies, and I think it's remarkable," he added.

bdk@yna.co.kr
(END)

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