North Korea may fire a long-range ballistic missile toward Hawaii in early July, a Japanese newspaper said Thursday, amid escalating tensions between the communist country and the United States over Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programs.
The missile, believed to be a long-range Taepodong-2, would be launched from North Korea's Dongchang-ni site on the northwestern coast, said the Yomiuri daily, Japan's top-selling newspaper. It cited an analysis by the Japanese Defense Ministry and intelligence gathered by US reconnaissance satellites.
The missile launch could come between July 4 and 8, the paper said. It noted North Korea had fired the Taepodong-2 missile on July 4, 1996. Also July 8 is the anniversary of the 1994 death of North Korea founder Kim Il Sung.
The Yomiuri report is the latest in mounting media speculation that the communist country could launch a long-range missile soon following its underground nuclear test on May 25.
While the Yomiuri speculated the Taepodong-2 could fly over Japan and toward Hawaii, it said the missile would not be able to hit the main islands of Hawaii.