Ballistic Provocation

North Korea launched a ballistic missile carrying a satellite payload into space in violation of international law on Saturday, following the detonation of a nuclear device in testing last month. “This is the second time in just over a month that [North Korea] has chosen to conduct a major provocation, threatening not only the security of the Korean peninsula, but that of the region and the United States,” Secretary of State John Kerry said in a statement. Kerry called the launch a “flagrant violation” of UN resolutions banning North Korean ballistic missile activities and vowed international response to hold North Korea accountable. US Strategic Command detected the launch at 6:29 p.m. Central Standard Time and tracked the missile’s trajectory South over the Yellow Sea on Feb. 6, according to a release. Observations “indicate two objects” were boosted into space and are now “orbiting over the poles.” US Combatant Commands “remain vigilant in the face of North Korean provocations and are fully committed to working closely with our Republic of Korea and Japanese allies to maintain security,” according to STRATCOM. Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook said defense officials are meeting with representatives in South Korea to discuss deploying a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system in the country at “the earliest possible date.” US Forces Korea Commander Army Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti decided to deploy the system to the country following the “provocative” actions taken by North Korea, including the satellite launch, Cook told reporters on Monday.