N Korea Could Launch Missile Every 2 Weeks For The Rest Of 2017

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Pyongyang: Troy Stangarone, an expert who analysed the number of banned missile tests launched from the country since 2012, made the prediction after analysing their current pace of military tests.

Mr Stangarone, senior director for congressional affairs at the Korea Economic Institute of America also predicted further 13-14 tests this year.

Writing for the Korea Economic Institute, he said: “Since assuming leadership in North Korea, Kim Jong-un has averaged 10.8 missile tests per year from 2012 to 2016. “Though, these numbers are driven up by the higher volume of tests in recent years.”

Since assuming office, Kim Jong-un greatly increased the number of tests he authorised from 8 in 2012, to an averaged total of 15.3 tests per year in 2016.

Mr Stangarone added: “If North Korean tests continue at the same pace as they have so far this year, we should expect a new missile test every 2.1 weeks and another 13-14 tests.

“If that is the case, which it may not be, North Korea would exceed last year’s total number of missile tests by 3-4 tests.

“The international community should be prepared to more quickly respond to the advancing pace of North Korea’s missile tests by preparing a menu of tightening multilateral sanctions options that have been informally agreed to in advance.”

South Korea’s new President Moon Jae-in took office last month pushed Mr Kim to launch five missile tests, but the rate is not unprecedented.

His predictions come as North Korean state media suggests the communist state may be close to testing its newest intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

An editorial in state paper Rodong Sinmun said: “The series of recent strategic weapons tests show that we are not too far away from test-firing an ICBM.”

The editorial went on to say: “The great success of test-firing an intercontinental ballistic missile, which we are sure to achieve, will mark a historic watershed moment in the failure of the US hostile policy against us.

“Historically speaking, the US has never dared to go to war with a country that possesses nuclear weapons or ICBMs.”