Intelligence points to coming North Korean long-range missile test

Bill Gertz, Inside the Ring, The Washington Times

U.S. intelligence agencies are closely watching North Korea for signs that Pyongyang’s next military provocation will be a long-range missile flight test.

 Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti
Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti

Recent pronouncements from the North indicate the regime has decided to conduct a long-range flight test, the timing of which is unknown, said U.S. officials familiar with intelligence reports. …

The most recent indication of a coming missile test is North Korea’s imposition of a “no-sail” zone in waters near Wonsan, on the southeastern coast. That location is where North Korea recently fired two medium-range Nodong missiles and large numbers of short-range missiles and artillery rockets in a saber-rattling display to protest joint U.S.-South Korean war games.

Systems likely to be tested include the Taepodong-2, which has been tested five times since 2006 and most recently in December 2012, and a new road-mobile KN-08 missile that has not been flight-tested. A third possible system in the longer-range category is the Musudan intermediate-range missile that can reach all U.S. bases in the region, including Guam. North Korea revealed recently that it has deployed at least six KN-08s. The missiles were spotted by imagery satellites at several locations over the past two years, including near Wonsan. They are deployed on Chinese-made mobile launchers that were illegally exported by Beijing several years ago in violation of U.N. sanctions. …

Army Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, commander of U.S. forces in Korea, said the North’s long-range missiles are dangerous and can be used despite their limited development.


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