South Korean government sources are reporting that North Korea is prepping a fresh round of missile tests ahead of a very public joint American-South Korean naval exercise in the West Pacific this week.
Sources are arguing that the launch may include a Hwasong-14 inter-continental ballistic missile which could have a long enough range to reach Alaska, perhaps even farther.
Previous tests without a nuclear payload reached a theoretical range that could hit as far as Chicago.
It’s just one more case for why the ongoing diplomatic feud with Kim Jong Un’s dictatorship may soon transcend any diplomatic remedy and force the Pentagon into a DEFCON 1 situation.
We’ll keep an eye on it.
Here’s more from France24…
North Korea is believed to be preparing to launch a ballistic missile ahead of an upcoming joint naval drill by the US and South Korea, a news report said Saturday, citing a government source.
The US navy said Friday that a US aircraft carrier will lead the drill in the coming week, a fresh show of force against North Korea as tensions soar over the hermit state’s weapons programme.
The move will likely rile Pyongyang which has previously responded angrily to joint exercises.
The Donga Ilbo daily, quoting a government source, said satellite pictures show ballistic missiles mounted on launchers being transported out of hangars near Pyongyang and in the North Phyongan Province.
US and South Korean military officials suspect the North might be preparing to launch missiles capable of reaching US territory, the newspaper said.
This could be the Hwasong-14 inter-continental ballistic missile (ICBM), whose range could extend to Alaska, or Hwasong-12 intermediate-range missiles which Pyongyang threatened to fire towards the US Pacific territory of Guam in August, the report said.
Another possibility is that the North might be preparing to test a new Hwasong-13 ICBM, it added, that has a longer maximum range than the other two missiles and could potentially reach the US West Coast.