North Korea’s back-to-back tests of its hypersonic missile technology are a sign that the rogue regime "senses U.S. weakness" and does not believe the Biden administration will challenge its latest provocations, former U.S ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley told the Washington Free Beacon.
North Korea announced early Thursday that it had successfully completed a second hypersonic missile launch, a sign that it is moving forward with plans to modernize and advance its nuclear weapons program. The test comes as the Biden administration continues to make diplomatic overtures to DPRK leader Kim Jong Un to restart disarmament talks.
Haley, who helmed the Trump administration’s hardline policy on North Korea during her time at the U.N., said Kim is emboldened by the Biden administration’s foreign policy "weakness."
"When I was at the U.N., we set the tone and stopped Kim in his tracks by placing the strongest sanctions ever placed on North Korea," Haley told the Free Beacon. "The rest of the world joined us in that move. There’s no surprise that Kim senses U.S. weakness and his threats and recklessness have begun again."
Hypersonic missiles are of particular concern to international observers due to the sophisticated way in which they evade radar detection. North Korea’s state-controlled news outlet, KCNA, described the launch as a success, claiming that the missile "precisely hit" a target some 430 miles away.
The Defense Department confirmed on Wednesday that North Korea launched a ballistic missile but said it does not have further details.
"We actually don't have a greater level of detail about this particular launch other than that we have every reason to believe it was a ballistic missile launch," Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told reporters. "Which, of course, is a violation of various U.N. Security Council resolutions."
The United States, Kirby said, is still gathering information on the launch.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken also condemned the launch during a Wednesday phone call with Japanese foreign minister Yoshimasa Hayashi.