MIAMI (CBSMiami) – International outrage is growing about a new North Korean missile test in which the country fired at least one banned ballistic missile overnight, Pentagon officials say.
South Korean military officials said the missiles lifted off shortly after 7:30 a.m. (local time) on Monday and traveled about 600 miles East across the Korean peninsula, before plunging into the Sea of Japan.
Three of the four missiles North Korea launched Monday landed in Japanese-controlled waters. Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is calling the development a “new stage of threat.”
The launch was timed for maximum exposure, coinciding with high profile events in the region.
The U.S. and South Korea are holding annual joint-military exercises which North Korea considers a dress rehearsal for an invasion
China’s biggest political event, the National People’s Congress is also underway.
The launch follows other provocations, like last month’s test of a missile that can evade early detection.
Meantime, the shocking murder of Kim Jong Un’s half-brother in Malaysia has been leading headlines.
Thomas Karako, of the Center for Strategic and International studies, said the timing isn’t chance.
“It is timed to coincide with these things, but it’s the larger pattern of instability and provocation and of edginess that this regime wants to communicate,” Karako said.
The Trump administration is keeping all options on the table from military action to recognizing North Korea as a nuclear state but they have yet to set a clear policy.
Analysts said the test was not an intercontinental ballistic missile that’s capable of reaching the U.S. but, with each passing launch, they move closer to that technology.