A defiant North Korea test-fired a long-range missile Wednesday that may be capable of reaching America, but it failed seconds after launch, U.S. officials said. The North also tested four shorter range missiles in an exercise the White House called "a provocation" but not an immediate threat.I first heard this on FOX News Chicago tonight. China may be a little taken aback because they thought they had a handle on North Korea. Perhaps China will get involved in this when it seems they haven't.
Ignoring stern U.S. and Japanese warnings, the isolated communist nation carried out the audacious military tests even as the U.S. celebrated the Fourth of July and launched the space shuttle.
Joseph Cirincione, an arms expert at the Center for American Progress, tells CBS' Dan Raviv there's a reason this happened on the Fourth of July.
"They know this is our national holiday. They want to remind us that they're still there."
South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported as many as 10 missiles altogether may have been launched, but officials could not confirm that.
None of the missiles made it as far as Japan. The Japanese government said all landed in the Sea of Japan between Japan and the Korean Peninsula.
"We do consider it provocative behavior," National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley said.
If one believes this story it is starting to get a little scary with them. This is how serious it could have been...
U.S. officials said the missiles were launched over a four-hour period beginning about 3:30 a.m. Wednesday (2:30 p.m. Tuesday EDT).
Meanwhile, the North American Aerospace Defense Command -- which monitors the skies for threats to North American security -- went on heightened alert, said NORAD spokesman Michael Kucharek.
Christopher Hill, assistant secretary of state, is set to head to the region on Wednesday, and Hadley is to meet with his South Korean counterpart, a meeting in Washington that already had been scheduled, the White House said.
"There's a lot going on," he said. "The safety of our people and resources is our top priority."