On Saturday, South Korean Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon has warned that North Korea may be planning to test an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), which has the ability to strike the U.S. mainland.
“Some believe North Korea may launch another intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) on the 9th; this time at an ordinary angle,” Lee said on Thursday. “A special measure is urgently needed to stop their recklessness.”
The report follows a similar one from South Korean intelligence published this week in the nation’s Asia Business Daily, which cited an unnamed intelligence official claiming there was evidence that Pyongyang was planning yet another ICBM test. According to Reuters, the report claimed that South Korean officials had spotted a rocket being moved towards its launch facilities, indicating it may be planning to test its capabilities. Reuters notes that South Korea’s defense ministry did not confirm the report in Asia Business Daily, which takes on heightened significance given Lee’s comments Thursday.
Such an ICBM test would follow the testing of a bomb Pyongyang claimed in its official state media was a hydrogen fusion bomb, a weapon the state newspaper Rodong Sinmun called “perfect” and caused an earthquake the United States Geological Survey rated a 6.3 magnitude. North Korea has threatened to reduce South Korea to “ashes” in its state media since the test, calling its leaders “gangsters” and warning, “If we fire, they will die. This is the inescapable fate of the puppet warmongers.”
Communist dictator Kim Jong-un, both in quotes and through state media, has threatened to attack the United States with a nuclear weapon once the nation’s program is fully developed. While North Korea appeared to possess both nuclear warheads and ICBMs, the program appears to be struggling to miniaturize a warhead so that it fits onto an ICBM and has the reach necessary to strike the U.S. mainland.
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