US Strategic Command on Wednesday detected yet another failed North Korean missile launch, a move Defense Secretary Ash Carter said was another step to destabilize the Korean peninsula. STRATCOM said it detected the Musudan intermediate-range ballistic missile test at about 5 p.m. Central Daylight Time near the Northwestern city of Kusong , and the North American Aerospace Defense Command said it “did not pose a threat to North America.” Carter, in a joint briefing Thursday with South Korean Defense Minister Han Min-koo, said “even in failing” the test violated several UN Security Council resolutions, and it “only strengthens our resolve to work together with our Republic of Korea allies to maintain stability on the peninsula.” Carter pointed to the recent agreement to deploy a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system to South Korea as a meaure to further protect from North Korean aggression. Han, through a translator, said South Korean intelligence showed North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un was likely at the test site. North Korea has repeatedly tested the Musudan system, at one time failing five times in a row, “showing the limits” of its ability. However, “We have assessed the stability of Kim Jong Un’s regime,” Han said. “North Korea’s nuclear and missile capabilities as continually advancing. … We have agreed to strengthen our stalwart combined defense posture so that we may respond to any North Korean provocation.” It was the second time in a week a missile test by the regime failed.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.