I’m sure Cheryl will be along with greater details once we have them, but in the meantime:
BREAKING: North Korea launches unidentified missile eastward, Yonhap news agency reports, citing South Korean military officials
— NBC News (@NBCNews) November 28, 2017
This is a little unusual for this time of year. The typical pattern is that the DPRK essentially stops weapons testing from the late fall through the winter.
Pyongyang’s last recorded weapons test occurred 73 days ago, on Sept. 15. That launch, in which a missile was fired over Japan, capped a bout of activity that had heralded a number of technological developments in North Korea’s weapons program, including the test of its most powerful nuclear bomb yet.
North Korea hasn’t fired a missile for 60 days, but that may have more to do with its own winter training cycle than with Pyongyang easing off on provocations.
Since Kim Jong Un took power in late 2011, only five of the isolated nation’s 85 rocket launches have taken place in the October-December quarter, according to The James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies’ North Korea Missile Test Database.
The Korean People’s Army regularly enters its training cycle every winter “and getting ready for it involves a calm before the storm,” said Van Jackson, a strategy fellow at the Center for Strategic Studies at Victoria University of Wellington.
“Fall is the harvest season, and a lot of military labor is dedicated to agricultural output when not in war mode; inefficient, but it’s the nature of the North Korean system,” said Jackson, a former U.S. Department of Defense adviser. “It’s a routine, recurring pattern, which means we should expect a surge in provocations in the early months next year.”
North Korea’s last launch was on Sept. 15, when the isolated state fired its second missile over Japan in as many months. That missile that flew far enough to put the U.S. territory of Guam in range.
As more information becomes available, what we know about today’s launch is likely to change. So stay frosty!