North Korea Test-Fires Multiple Anti-Ship Cruise Missiles

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There have been reports that North Korea has been bracing for a preemptive United States missile strike similar to the missile strike on the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in response to the April 4 attack with chemical weapons.

"We look forward to continuing our close coordination with the Moon administration", U.S. State Department spokeswoman Anna Richey-Allen said when asked about the South Korean decision.

"It is incumbent on us to assume that North Korea today can range the United States with an ICBM carrying a nuclear warhead", Vice-Admiral James Syring, director of the MDA, told the House Armed Services Committee.

Moon temporarily halted the installation of remaining components of the U.S.'s Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system, known as Thaad, pending an environmental impact assessment.

Experts said that rocket flew higher and for a longer time than any other missile previously tested by North Korea, and that it could one day reach targets as far away as Hawaii and Alaska.

The missiles represent the fourth new missile system North Korea said it has introduced and successfully tested this year, sending a defiant message that it will continue to pursue a weapons program that has rattled its neighbors and Washington.

"The Philippines expresses grave concern on the DPRK's [Democratic People's Republic of Korea], missile launches on May 21 and May 29 which were carried out in defiance of repeated warnings by the worldwide community", the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said in a statement.

The JCS added that the South Korean military has beefed up surveillance and readiness for possible additional provocations.

South Koreans watch a television broadcasting a news report on North Korea's recent missile launch at a station in Seoul, South Korea, 08 June 2017.

It's the 10th missile test this year by North Korea and the fifth missile launch since liberal Moon Jae-in took office in South Korea early May.

The North Korean missile tests present a hard challenge to new South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who has expressed a desire to reach out to the North.

According to Pyongyang, the launch was a test of this new ship-killing missile.

The launch follows the move of Moon's government suspending the deployment of a controversial U.S. missile defense system which had strained relations with China and angered North Korea.

That was in response to a spate of recent ballistic missile tests which violate United Nations sanctions.

North Korea has also tested medium-range ballistic missiles that could strike the US base on Guam.

Leader Kim Jong-un has spoken of his aim to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of hitting the mainland United States with a nuclear weapon.

The isolated country, which has conducted dozens of missile tests and tested two nuclear bombs since the beginning of 2016 in defiance of U.N. Security Council resolutions, says the program is necessary to counter US aggression. "The pace of the threat is advancing faster than I think was considered when we did the first ballistic missile defense review back in 2010", the Pentagon official added.

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