News / Asia

Analysts Concerned by Possible N. Korean Mobile Missile Development

Baik Sungwon

U.S. defense analysts say construction progress at a North Korean missile launching station northwest of Pyongyang could be a major development.

Satellite images published by the website 38North, run by the U.S.-Korea Institute at John’s Hopkins University, indicate Pyongyang is almost finished with activity at the country’s Sohae Satellite Launching Station.

The post says analysis indicates the communist country this year completed its fourth series of tests of the KN-08 mobile ICBM first stage rocket motor.

38North concluded that if the engine tests are over, “the next stage in development of the KN-08 road-mobile ICBM may be full-scale flight tests of the missile.”

The mobile part is what worries defense analysts in the United States the most.

Bruce Bechtol, Associate Professor of Political Science at Angelo State University said in a telephone interview with VOA Korean service that the KN-08 will be revolutionary.

“It’s an absolute game changer,” said Bechtol. He added, “it takes away the warning time that the United States, South Korea, and Japan have every time there is a long-range missile launch.”

Many defense analysts agree developments on the Sohae station suggest Pyongyang aims to have longer-range missiles capable of targeting the U.S. mainland. 38 North predicts the modifications to be completed by 2015.

RAND Corporation Senior Analyst Bruce Bennett said, “The North wants to be able to put the United States in jeopardy to both raise its visibility and debate with the United States.”

But one expert noted the biggest threat is if North Korea can put a long range missile on a mobile platform, making it harder for the U.S. to prevent an attack before it was launched.

“A fixed installation is not useful as an attack mechanism,” said Gen. Burwell Bell, former commander of U.S. forces in Korea. “In other words, if they begin to load a missile onto that, it would be vulnerable to attack.”  He said the U.S. can effectively counter missile attacks from such facilities.

The U.S., South Korea and other nations have been calling on North Korea to give up its missile and nuclear weapons programs, which have led to international sanctions against the regime in Pyongyang.

This report was produced in collaboration with the VOA Korean service.

 

You May Like

Video Obama Announces Plan to Send 3,000 Troops to Liberia in Ebola Fight

At US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Obama details troop deployment and other pieces of US plan More

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

Muslims in Kunming say that they condemn the violence, it is not a reflection of the true beliefs of their faith More

Humanitarian Aid, Equipment Blocked in Cameroon

Move is seen as a developing supply crisis in West Africa More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Communityi
X
September 16, 2014 2:06 PM
Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid