North Korea's two recent ballistic missile launches were meant to test elements of its new long-range system, representing a "serious escalation", the United States has said.
After careful analysis, the US has concluded that Pyongyang's tests on Feb 26 and March 4 "involved a relatively new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) system that (North Korea) is developing," a senior administration official told journalists on Thursday (March 10) in Washington.
But the official said the two tests were not in the same range as the three ICBM tests conducted in 2017.
The US would be happy to have an ally who is now more eager to strengthen deterrence, said Dr Duyeon Kim, Seoul-based Adjunct Senior Fellow at the Indo Pacific Programme of the Centre for a New American Security.
When North Korea ramps up provocation, there will be more hardline voices in South Korea, even wanting their own nuclear weapons, especially if they see that Washington is preoccupied with the crisis in Europe and other foreign and domestic issues, she said.
"If they feel the Biden administration is not paying sufficient attention to North Korea's problem, those voices for new weapons are going to crescendo" she said. "Washington will have to deal with that."
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