North Korea may be gearing up to test an intercontinental or intermediate-range ballistic missile, US intelligence sources told CNN on Wednesday.
Officials who viewed new satellite imagery and studied North Korean radar emissions said that the country could test another missile in two weeks, according to CNN. This would be its first test since the original test of the ICBM, the Hwasong-14, on July 4.
Shea Cotton, a research associate at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, pointed out on Twitter that North Korea has launched, on average, one missile every 14 days during 2017.
Although North Korea’s development of an ICBM represents a huge milestone, it still has some considerable distance to go before perfecting the missile and therefore needs to continue testing.
“I am reasonably confident in the ability of our intelligence community to monitor the testing but not the deployment of these missile systems,” Air Force Gen. Paul Selva, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday.
“Kim Jong Un and his forces are very good at camouflage, concealment, and deception,” Selva said, meaning that missile launchers actually deployed present more of a challenge to locate, and therefore military action cannot necessarily destroy them before a possible counterattack.
The US closely monitors North Korea’s missile tests, and The Diplomat’s Ankit Panda reported that at the July 4 launch, the US had observed the preparations for the ICBM for a full 70 minutes.