FAA briefly grounded planes in Western U.S. as precaution

A United Airlines Holdings Inc. Boeing 777-200 on the tarmac at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) in San Francisco, California, United States, Thursday, October 15, 2020.

David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

WASHINGTON – The Federal Aviation Administration said on Tuesday it briefly halted departures at some West Coast airports on Monday evening, a precaution that occurred around the same time as a North Korean ballistic missile launch .

It is not known if the two events were linked.

The FAA said on Tuesday that it “takes precautionary measures on a regular basis. We are reviewing the process around this ground stoppage as we are doing after all of these events.”

A US official told Reuters that the FAA suspended operations for less than 15 minutes “due to early reports of events in the Indo-Pacific region,” without directly linking it to the missile launch.

In a statement Monday evening, the U.S. Army’s Indo-Pacific Military Command, the combatants’ geographic command responsible for the region, confirmed the launch of ballistic missiles from North Korea.

“We are aware of the ballistic missile launch and are consulting closely with our allies and partners. Although we have assessed that this event does not pose an immediate threat to US personnel or territory, or to our allies, the missile launch does evidence of the destabilizing impact of the DPRK’s illicit weapons program, “the command wrote, referring to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

People walk past a television screen showing a newscast with archival footage of a North Korean missile test, at a Seoul train station on January 11, 2022, after North Korea fired a “ballistic missile.” suspected “in the sea, the South Korean military said, less than a week after Pyongyang announced it had tested a hypersonic missile.

Anthony Wallace | AFP | Getty Images

Monday’s missile test, the second known North Korean launch in a week, originated in the northern province of Jagang and traveled some 430 miles before plunging into the East Sea, according to heads of state- South Korean Joint Major.

Last week, Pyongyang said it had successfully tested a sophisticated hypersonic missile.

Meanwhile, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said on Monday that the United States was still evaluating whether this test was a hypersonic missile with a maneuverable warhead.

Under UN Security Council resolutions, all ballistic missile testing by North Korea is banned.

The missile tests, which follow a series of weapons tests in 2021, underscore the ambition of third-generation North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to expand military capabilities amid stalled nuclear talks with United States.

During his reign, the recluse state carried out its most powerful nuclear test, launched its first-ever intercontinental ballistic missile, and threatened to send missiles into waters near the U.S. territory of Guam.

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