North Korea appears to be preparing a missile launch to celebrate the anniversary of the birth of the country’s founder Kim Il-Sung. One or two Musudan ballistic missiles were deployed around the eastern port of Wonsan some three weeks ago, according to Yonhap news agency which quoted an unnamed Seoul official. The move came as US intelligence warned the North’s ballistic missile capability is expanding. The founder’s birthday is an annual spectacular for North Korea, which celebrates with huge military parades featuring its most impressive-looking weapons or with missile launches.
There is an ample possibility that the North would launch them around Kim Il-Sung’s birthday.
Yonhap news agency quoting a South Korean official
The nuclear-armed state has staged several short- and mid-range missile launches but has yet to test the Musudan missile, known to have a range of up to 2,485 miles. Seoul’s defence ministry spokesman also said there was a “possibility” the North would carry out such missile test around Friday’s anniversary. On Tuesday, senior US politician Brian McKeon told a US Senate hearing that North Korea’s nuclear and missile programme posed a growing threat to the United States and its allies in East Asia. He said North Korea was trying to develop longer-range nuclear ballistic missiles capable of hitting the US and was working to make its KN-08 road-mobile ICBM operational. At the same hearing, Admiral Bill Gortney, the officer in charge of defending US air space, said current assessment showed it was unlikely that North Korean missiles could hit the US, but it was prudent to assume it had the capability.
We don’t base our readiness levels on that low probability … We are prepared to engage that particular threat.
Admiral Bill Gortney, the officer in charge of defending US air space