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U.S. pressure not slowing down N. Korea missile tests

North Korea launches missile
North Korea launches missile toward Japan 02:30

North Korea fired yet another ballistic missile overnight, part of an escalating series of tests. The newest missile was launched from the country's east coast, flying about 280 miles before landing in the sea off the coast of Japan.

The missile appears to be a short-range ballistic scud missile that Japan said could have easily hit an airplane or a ship in the area. If anyone thought increasing pressure from the U.S. or even China would convince North Korea to slow down its missile tests, that appears to be wishful thinking, reports CBS News correspondent Ben Tracy.

North Korea has now conducted nine missile launches this year – three in just the past three weeks.

The latest comes after the country claimed its leader, Kim Jong Un, oversaw a successful test of a new anti-aircraft system this past weekend.

Japan was quick to condemn the new missile launch as was South Korea, whose new president has said he wants better relations with North Korea. Despite international sanctions, North Korea's capabilities continue to grow.

Last week the country said it perfected a medium-range solid fuel missile that it would start mass producing. Earlier this month, it tested what is believed to be its longest range missile yet, potentially capable of carrying a nuclear warhead but still not able to reach the United States.

2014 was the last time the U.S. tested its West Coast missile defense system, which has only worked in about half of the trials. On Tuesday the U.S. military will attempt to shoot down an intercontinental ballistic missile for the first time.

The Trump administration has now sent two aircraft carriers to the Korean peninsula but that a military conflict with North Korea would be catastrophic. 

Sec. Mattis warns conflict with North Korea may lead to "the worst kind of fighting" 02:18

"The North Korean regime has hundreds of artillery cannons and rocket launchers within range of one of the most densely-populated cities on earth, which is the capital of South Korea," Mattis said.

While North Korea continues to launch missiles, it has not conducted a nuclear test so far this year, which would likely result in a stronger response from the U.S. and perhaps even its ally, China. When we visited North Korea last month, we asked the vice foreign minister if they still plan another nuclear test and he said Kim Jong Un will do it at a time of his choosing.

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