Now that the United States and Russia have scrapped an arms control agreement, the Pentagon announced on Monday it has conducted a test of a previously banned missile.
The missile, a modified version of a Navy Tomahawk cruise missile, was tested off the coast of Southern California on Sunday, and after flying 310 miles, it hit its target, the Pentagon said. The missile had a conventional warhead. Previously, Defense Department officials said the missile would likely have a range of about 620 miles, and could be ready for use within 18 months, The Associated Press reports. The Pentagon has also said it plans on soon testing a non-nuclear ballistic missile with a range of about 1,864 to 2,485 miles.
Under the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty of 1987, missiles able to fly between 310 and 3,410 miles were banned. The U.S. and Russia withdrew from the treaty on Aug. 2, after both sides accused one another of violating the agreement. Catherine Garcia
NBC News reported Tuesday that two U.S. military officials warned that North Korea could test a ballistic missile "in the coming days." CBS News reported that the Pentagon believes a test could occur "in the next week or two." If Pyongyang does conduct a ballistic missile test, it would be their seventh launch in the last six months.
Shortly after news of the expected launch broke, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley told reporters that the U.S. "will never accept a nuclear North Korea":
News of a possible North Korean missile test comes only a day after Kim said he wants to have talks with South Korea before the Winter Olympics, which begin next month in the South Korean city of Pyeongchang. A South Korean government official on Tuesday called for a meeting to occur next week. Haley, however, warned that the proposed talks were irrelevant if North Korea does not give up its nuclear weapons. Kelly O'Meara Morales