U.S. intelligence agencies monitoring North Korea for signs of a third underground nuclear test recently reported that the isolated communist state appears set to conduct the first test launch of a new road-mobile ICBM built with Chinese technology.
U.S. officials with access to intelligence reports said the North Koreans are expected to test fire either a new KN-08 road-mobile ICBM—capable of reaching parts of the United States—or a new medium-range advanced missile called the Musudan, also built on hard-to-detect mobile launchers.
New intelligence on the KN-08, which was showcased for the first time last April during a North Korean military parade atop a Chinese-made mobile transporter-launcher, indicates the North Koreans are preparing to launch one or more of the missiles around the time they conduct a future nuclear test.
Six of the missiles were shown during the parade. The range of the missile is not known because it has not yet been flight-tested. However, intelligence agencies believe it can range Alaska and Hawaii and possibly the U.S. West Coast.
SOUTH KOREA: North Korea May Test Several Nuclear Devices at Once
North Korea’s next nuclear test may involve several detonations to showcase its improved capability, the chairman of South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said.
North Korea may simultaneously explode an upgraded plutonium bomb and another of highly-enriched uranium, General Jung Seung Jo told lawmakers today in Seoul at a meeting of the parliamentary defense committee.
“Because they’ve already used plutonium twice, they will want to experiment with a warhead that has better performance and power,” he said. “They could showcase technological advances with highly-enriched uranium or by testing both types at once.”
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