What the US Knew About North Korea’s Second ICBM Launch Before It Happened The Diplomat ^ | July 31, 2017 | Ankit Panda

What the US Knew About North Korea’s Second ICBM Launch Before It Happened
The Diplomat ^ | July 31, 2017 | Ankit Panda

Posted on 8/3/2017, 7:57:16 AM by TigerLikesRooster

What the US Knew About North Korea’s Second ICBM Launch Before It Happened

U.S. military intelligence observed North Korea’s preparation for a second ICBM test from Mupyong-ni.

By Ankit Panda

July 31, 2017

The United States had anticipated North Korea’s July 28 test launch of the Hwasong-14/KN20 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) from Mupyong-ni and also detected the launch pad used that day, The Diplomat has learned.

According to a U.S. government source with knowledge of North Korea’s weapons programs who spoke to The Diplomat, the United States had been watching the site “for weeks and saw some of the preparations in the 24 hours preceding launch.”

The source added that confidence about an imminent launch on July 28 was high by about “four hours prior to launch.” This assessment was also partly based on North Korea’s set-up of a VIP viewing area near the launch site for Kim Jong-un and other senior regime officials.

A “Surprise Attack”?

The July 28 launch of the Hwasong-14 ICBM was different from the July 4 launch, which was the first-ever of an intercontinental-range missile by North Korea, in two important ways. The first was that North Korea successfully demonstrated much greater performance and theoretical range given the observed trajectory.

The second was that North Korea carried out the launch at nighttime and in conditions likely meant to simulate operational use. A report on the launch carried by North Korea’s state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) noted that it demonstrated “the capability of making surprise launch of ICBM in any region and place any time.”

If the United States was indeed able to successfully detect activity prior to launch, North Korea’s claim of being able to carry out a surprise launch was overstated.

(Excerpt) Read more at thediplomat.com

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