WASHINGTON — North Korea fired a ballistic missile early Wednesday local time, according to South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff.
CNN confirmed the launch with the South Korean military leaders who said it was still flying.
“North Korea fired an unidentified ballistic missile early this morning from Pyongsong, South Pyongan, to the east direction. South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff is analyzing more details of the missile with the US side,” said an official at South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff.
US defense and intelligence officials had been growing increasingly puzzled as to why North Korean leader Kim Jong Un had not tested a ballistic missile in nearly two months.
Before Wednesday’s test, North Korea had fired 22 missiles without active warheads during 15 tests since February. US officials say North Korea is continuing to develop its missiles, rocket fuel and engines, as well as targeting and guidance systems.
The US believes Pyongyang may be able to put a miniaturized warhead on a missile sometime in 2018 — giving it the theoretical capability to launch a missile with a warhead atop that could attack the US.