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By Stella Kim and Doha Madani
SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea has launched an unidentified short-range missile, a South Korean military official confirmed to NBC News.
The missile was launched shortly after 9 a.m. Saturday off the eastern area on the Hodo Bando peninsula. South Korean and U.S. authorities are analyzing the details concerning the missile launch, according to the military official.
National security adviser John Bolton has “fully briefed” President Donald Trump on the launch, a senior administration official told NBC News on Friday night.
The weekend launch is likely a sign of Pyongyang’s growing frustration at stalled diplomatic talks with Washington over its nuclear arsenal.
Earlier this year, Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un abruptly ended a summit and were unable to negotiate a denuclearization deal.
The president indicated then that the discussions stalled over Kim’s demand that all sanctions be lifted in exchange for concessions on Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program. The U.S. has indicated that the sanctions will stay in place until North Korea makes more significant moves.
There have since been no publicly known high-level contacts between the U.S. and North Korea, although both sides say they are still open to a third summit.
Researchers at Beyond Parallel, a project sponsored by the defense think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies, found in March that North Korea was pursuing the “rapid rebuilding” of the long-range rocket site at Sohae Launch Facility.
Beyond Parallel reported that the activity at Sohae, photographed on March 2, is “evident at the vertical engine test stand and the launch pad’s rail-mounted rocket transfer structure.”
“The activity they are undertaking now is consistent with preparations for a test, though the imagery thus far does not show a missile being moved to the launch pad,” Victor Cha, one of the authors of the report, said.
Stella Kim reported from South Korea, and Doha Madani from New York.