News / Asia

Report: North Korea's ICBM Prototypes Getting 'Scary Good'

FILE - A military truck carrying a missile parades during a ceremony marking the 60th anniversary of the Korean War armistice in Pyongyang, North Korea, July 27, 2013.
FILE - A military truck carrying a missile parades during a ceremony marking the 60th anniversary of the Korean War armistice in Pyongyang, North Korea, July 27, 2013.
VOA News
A top research group says prototype ballistic missiles seen at recent North Korean military parades may be more advanced than earlier believed, and may even be sophisticated enough to threaten the U.S. west coast.

Many Western analysts dismissed the KN-08 missiles as primitive, non-operational mockups when they appeared in photos at Pyongyang military parades in April 2012 and again in July of this year, but the U.S.-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University said Tuesday that the missiles, even if fakes, appear to be getting more advanced, and have reached the point of being what it called "scary good."

The institute's report said the missile mockups appear to show North Korea can assemble components and technologies "good enough to produce missiles with theoretical ranges from 5,500 to over 11,000 kilometers." That would easily be far enough for North Korea to make good on its threats of being able to strike the U.S. mainland with a nuclear warhead.

The report cautioned the KN-08s are "almost certainly" non-operational and would need to be tested at least once. It cautioned, though, that a test could occur any time, given the advanced state of the mockup hardware and recent satellite photos showing upgrades at North Korea's main missile launch site.

North Korea is already believed to have cleared a number of technological hurdles needed for an ICBM when it used its Unha-3 carrier to successfully launch a satellite into space last December. The move was portrayed by the North as a peaceful scientific mission but condemned by the U.N. as a banned long-range missile test.

There are other obstacles North Korea would face in delivering a nuclear warhead to the United States. It is unclear if North Korea's nuclear bombs are small and reliable enough to be placed on such a long-range missile. Experts say the North also still needs to make progress on designing a re-entry vehicle that could guide any intercontinental ballistic missile back to Earth after reaching orbit.

However, the U.S.-Korea Institute said the North's missile technology seems to be getting more advanced. It said that at the 2012 parade, the KN-08 missiles on display had several design inconsistences and sported warheads "that appeared to be quite shoddily made." However, a little over a year later, at the July parade, it said the most obvious issues seemed to have been corrected.

Some have suggested the KN-08s are a hoax, meant to extract more foreign concessions in negotiations over North Korea's nuclear weapons program, but the U.S.-Korea Institute's paper said the simplest explanation is that the missile "may be exactly what it appears to be: a developmental road-mobile ICBM of limited capability but still able to threaten the continental United States."

You May Like

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Christmas Gains Popularity in Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ugandan Doctors Aid Victims of Sudan's Civil Wari
X
Adam Bailes
December 22, 2014 3:45 PM
In Sudan's state of South Kordofan, the number of amputees as result of civil war is in the thousands, but few have access to sufficient medical help. Adam Bailes recently visited the area and says a small team of Ugandan doctors has been providing remote help, producing new prosthetic limbs for those in need.
Video

Video Ugandan Doctors Aid Victims of Sudan's Civil War

In Sudan's state of South Kordofan, the number of amputees as result of civil war is in the thousands, but few have access to sufficient medical help. Adam Bailes recently visited the area and says a small team of Ugandan doctors has been providing remote help, producing new prosthetic limbs for those in need.
Video

Video Jane Monheit Christmas Special

Chanteuse Jane Monheit sings the holiday classic “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” and explains why it’s her favorite song of the season.
Video

Video Calm Amid Fear in Daily Life in S. Sudan’s Town of Bentiu

Six months ago, Bentiu was a ghost town. The capital of northern Unity State, near South Sudan’s important oil fields, had changed hands several times in fighting between government forces and rebels. Calm returned in November and since then, residents of Bentiu have been trying to regain some sense of normalcy. Bentiu’s market has reopened there are plans to start school again. But fears of new attacks hang heavy, as Benno Muchler reports from Bentiu.
Video

Video US Business Groups Press for Greater Access to Cuba

President Barack Obama's decision to do all he can to ease restrictions on U.S. trade, travel and financial activities with Cuba has drawn criticism from some conservatives and Republicans. People who bring tourists to the island and farmers who want to sell more food to Cuba, however, think they can do a lot more business with Cuba. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.

All About America

AppleAndroid