Pentagon remains calm in face of new North Korean missile test

Pentagon remains calm in face of new North Korean missile test

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Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan greets Albanian Minister of Defense Olta Xhacka at the Pentagon Thursday. He spoke to Pentagon reporters prior to her arrival. (DoD photo)

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon said Friday that it has not changed the military readiness of U.S. forces in South Korea despite the successful test by North Korea of a new short-range missile this week.

Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan confirmed to Pentagon reporters that reported missile test did occur this week but stressed that “it didn’t involve a ballistic weapon and didn’t trigger any change in U.S. military operations.”

However, the test did prompt a closer look at many aspects of the North Korean military to see if there were shifts in force positions or military preparations by Pyongyang, Pentagon officials said in interviews on Friday.

That scrutiny was enhanced because the missile test, which occurred Wednesday, was not detected by South Korean or U.S. military radars, the officials said Friday.

There were no other activities noted that raised concern, they said.

North Korean state media said North Korean leader Kim Jong Un supervised the test-firing. The report described the device as having a “peculiar mode of guiding flight”— suggesting infrared guidance and GPS navigation, according to news reports.

“I’m not being, you know, cagey here. It’s just that what’s important is: It wasn’t ballistic,” Shanahan told reporters on Thursday.

After the launch, Kim reportedly said that North Korea wants Secretary of State Mike Pompeo removed from future denuclearization discussions between Washington and North Korea and that someone “more careful and mature in communicating” should replace him, according to news reports.

In related matters, the Kremlin said Thursday that Kim will visit Russia later this month, according to news reports.

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