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The saber-rattling of its missile capabilities coincides with the first emergence of current leader Kim Jong-un in September 2010.

Officials said it does not appear that North Korea plans to test its new long-range road-mobile ICBM.

Intelligence reports from December 2011 revealed that Pyongyang was developing its first road-mobile ICBM capable of hitting the United States.

In June 2011, then-Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said North Korea was becoming a “direct threat” to the United States as a result of the new mobile ICBM.

The Taepodong-2 is a launch-pad missile that North Korea has described as a space-launch vehicle to put satellites into orbit.

The Pentagon, however, considers the Taepodong-2 a long-range missile.

Tibetan protest

The number of Tibetans who have burned themselves to death protesting Chinese rule in Tibet increased sharply this month with 19 people immolating themselves.

Few of the protest burnings have captured public attention in the United States, but the actions demonstrate the seriousness of Tibetans in seeking an end to Chinese occupation of the Buddhist-dominated region west of China.

According to U.S. officials, 19 Tibetans carried out self-immolation protests so far this month, coinciding with the meeting of the Chinese Communist Party Congress that saw the shift in leadership from Hu Jintao to Xi Jinping.

The most recent was the case of Tibetan herder Dazheng who set himself on fire in Dageri Village, in Qinghai Province on Friday.

A day earlier Japan’s Kyodo news agency reported that Tibetan Tadin Kyab, 23, a former monk at the Shitsang Monastery died in Luqu Country in Gansu Province after setting himself on fire to protest Chinese rule.

There were 10 self-immolations in October, one in September, seven in August, and fewer than five per month from July to April. In March, coinciding with the 2008 protests in Tibet and western China, there were 11 self-immolations.

There have been what U.S. officials called an “unprecedented” series of burnings in Gansu Province, Qinhuai Province, Sichuan Province, and in what China calls the Tibet Autonomous Region.

Chinese troops took over Tibet in the late 1950s, forcing the government into exile in neighboring India.

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