South Korean officials said that North Korea is preparing two intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs). The North would be actually test launching the missiles in the future. Furthermore, it was also reported that the two missiles could be launched by mobile command.
North Korea: Mobile Launchers for ICBM
It was reported that Seoul’s Joint Chiefs of Staff stated that the claims could not be confirmed. However, it was also said that the South Korean military was observing the ICBM situation closely. These two missiles have been placed on mobile launchers.
The two ICBMs were estimated to not be more than 15 meters in length. This would make them shorter than the nation’s existing ICBMs. Furthermore, North Korea was trying to convey a “strategic message” to incoming United States President Donald Trump right before his inauguration on Friday.
According to CNN, U.S. intelligence satellites have gathered that North Korea’s Chamjin missile factory, southwest of Pyongyang, was involved in some sort of activity. This made the U.S. consider that the activity could actually be related to preparations for some type of ballistic missile test that could happen in the first days or weeks of the Trump administration.
If the launch takes place from mobile launchers, it could actually happen with little or no notice at all. Andrei Lankov, a professor at Seoul’s Kookmin University, also said that North’s ICBM testing is actually of a high probability. “Because President-elect Trump tweeted that ‘it won’t happen,’ such a launch could be seen as a serious humiliation,” Lankov said.
There had been concerns over North Korea’s development of more nuclear weapons. 38 North, a United States-based monitoring service, cautioned about enhanced activity at the Yongbyon nuclear site. Moreover, this could actually mean that North was trying to manufacture more plutonium for fueling nuclear weapons, Reuters reported.
North Korea: Military Capabilities
The ICBM testing by Pyongyang would not only act as a propaganda victory but also an effective progress in North Korea’s military development. According to military experts, any test would solely involve a missile with a range below 2,500 kilometers. This would be less than half the regular ICBM range of 5,500 km.
There were experts who expressed doubts about these missiles being mere mock-ups. While North Korea has never successfully tested an ICBM, however, there are chances that the repeated show off could actually be more than provocation.
Also Read: North Could Place ICBM Within Range of US
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