Cathay Pacific Crew 'saw North Korean Missile'

Korea's official Korean Central News Agency shows launching of the Hwasong-15 missile

Crew onboard a Cathay Pacific flight last week claimed to have witnessed North Korea's latest intercontinental ballistic missile test.

The airline told the BBC that the crew flying from San Francisco to Hong Kong saw "what is suspected to be the re-entry" of a North Korean nuclear missile during a test.

"Today the crew of CX893 reported, 'Be advised, we witnessed the DPRK missile blow up and fall apart near our current location", the airline's operations manager Mark Hoey wrote in a message on a company communication platform, the Post reported.

Defense Secretary James Mattis said he still had confidence in diplomatic efforts to address the North Korea situation, but that the USA also has military options available.

North Korea test-fires Hwasong-14 last July.

The isolated and impoverished North has staged six increasingly powerful atomic tests since 2006 - most recently in September - which have rattled Washington and its key regional allies South Korea and Japan.

N Korea Celebrates Latest Missile Launch With Mass Galas, Fireworks
North Korea tested a new ICBM, which Pyongyang claims is capable of reaching any target in the continental United States. On Wednesday, President Donald Trump threatened to impose "major sanctions" against Pyongyang.

Tensions in the region are likely to escalate even further this week, with North Korea declaring a five-day joint military drill between the USA and South Korea as an "open, all-out provocation". Pyongyang has said the drills prove that US President Donald Trump is "begging" for nuclear war.

According to Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), that is a comment that needs to be taken seriously.

In recent years Pyongyang has accelerated its drive to develop nuclear and missile technology capable of threatening the United States, which it accuses of hostility.

As well as featuring the latest generation of stealth fighters, this year's wargames involve simulated precision attacks on the North's military installations, including its missile launch sites and artillery units, Yonhap news agency said, citing unnamed Seoul sources.

CNN said the initial analysis of the missile by officials revealed that it likely involved a two-stage missile with a non-explosive dummy warhead. In addition, analysts are skeptical that Pyongyang has mastered the technology needed to shield the warhead from extreme temperatures and stresses as the missile barrels back to Earth.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis (L) and Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff speak to the press about the situation in North Korea at the White House in Washington, D.C. on September 3, 2017. On Monday, China's foreign ministry requested that all sides "do more to ease the tension and avoid provoking each other".

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