The commander of the US Pacific Command says the United States is prepared to counter North Korea’s intercontinental ballistic missile that can hit his country.
“Whether they [ballistic missiles] are real or not, or whether they have the capability or not, North Korean regime wants us to think they do and so we plan for that,” Adm. Samuel Locklear said on Tuesday.
North Korea unveiled its road mobile KN-08 missile during a military parade in Pyongyang in April 2012. However, some experts believe they are not real missiles.
The KN-08 missile is capable of hitting the United States as it can reach about 6,000 miles, which puts Los Angeles in range.
Markus Schiller, an expert in the North Korean military, said that it was “totally impossible” for the KN-08 to be operational without tests.
However, another analysis by the Johns Hopkins University’s US-Korea Institute said the missiles could be real.
“Elegant or not,” those missiles in the parade show an ability to assemble components and technologies to produce missiles with theoretical ranges of 5,500 kilometers (3,400 miles) to more than 11,000 km.
“Almost all of the configurations examined would be able to deliver a light, first-generation nuclear warhead at least as far as Seattle,” according to the analysis.
The 18-meter-long KN-08 can be readied for a launch in a short time and fired from various sites via a movable pad, making a preemptive strike difficult.
The United States and North Korea have been at loggerheads for decades. The tensions mounted over Pyongyang’s missile tests during the past months.
Some experts believe that the Obama administration is escalating tensions on the peninsula to step up its military role in the region and encircle China.
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