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US Takes North Korea’s ‘Enhancement’ Missile Programs Seriously: Pentagon

WASHINGTON, Jan. 18 (Yonhap) — The United States takes the threat posed by North Korea’s “enhanced” missile programs very seriously, Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said Tuesday.

However, he said the United States is still evaluating the nature of North Korea’s recent missile launches, apparently to learn their exact capabilities.

“We will continue to take this threat and this Pyongyang enhancement program very, very seriously,” he told a news conference when asked about North’s recent missile launches.

North Korea launched two short-range ballistic missiles on Monday (Seoul time), marking its fourth missile launch since the start of the new year.

Citing photos of the launch released by North Korea, Seoul officials said the missiles fired Monday appeared to be the KN-24, which is said to be a North Korean version of the US Army Tactical Missile System, or ATACMS. flying in a complicated trajectory. , making them difficult to intercept.

“We have evaluated them as ballistic missiles and we are still trying to detect them. So I don’t have any more details on that,” Kirby said when asked about the nature of the missiles involved in North Korea’s latest launch. .

North Korea fired what it says is a newly developed hypersonic missile on January 5 and 11 before launching two short-range ballistic missiles on Friday.

Kirby noted that the United States has clearly and repeatedly called North Korea’s missile launches a threat to America’s allies and partners in the region.

“We are not devaluing anything. Not at all,” he said when asked if the United States was downplaying the threat posed by North Korea’s missile launches, since they do not pose an immediate threat to the US homeland.

“As an administration, we have condemned these missile launches and called them for what they are, clearly violations of various UN Security Council resolutions and dangerous to the region, certainly dangerous to our allies and partners, and we are taking it very seriously.” really”. really. There is no devaluation of any”, he added.

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