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North Korea developing ballistic missiles, Joint Chiefs chairman says

Pyongyang’s pursuit of weapons development is ongoing, and cyberattacks continue to pose threats to U.S. network security.
By Elizabeth Shim Contact the Author   |   March 18, 2016 at 9:27 AM
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WASHINGTON, March 18 (UPI) -- North Korea continues to develop long-range ballistic missiles that threaten the continental United States, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford said.

He told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday Pyongyang's pursuit of weapons development is ongoing, and cyberattacks continue to pose threats to U.S. network security.

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Dunford said North Korea keeps investing in military power in order to challenge the competitiveness of the United States, Yonhap reported.

At the same hearing, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter similarly condemned the North's announced nuclear test and long-range rocket launch, although Pyongyang has said the satellite launch was for "peaceful" purposes, and a U.S. analyst has said the satellite appears to be partly functioning.

But Pyongyang's development of submarine-launched ballistic missiles is also a source of increasing concern for U.S. interests.

According to 38 North, a Johns Hopkins University website dedicated to North Korea issues, recent satellite imagery of a North Korean shipyard indicated North Korea is working on SLBMs, as well as on an experimental ballistic missile submarine.

North Korea also launched at least one ballistic missile into the East Sea, or the Sea of Japan early Friday, according to Seoul's military officials.

The move was immediately condemned in Japan and the United States.

Late Thursday Pentagon spokesman Cmdr. Bill Urban said the launch is a clear violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions, and State Department spokesman John Kirby said the United States is closely watching the situation on the Korean peninsula.

In Tokyo on Friday Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe denounced Pyongyang for the provocation, saying the country is "bracing for any contingency," The Japan Times reported.

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