N. Korea showcases missile capable of hitting Guam

Military parade reveals new missile said to be capable of nuclear armament, with US base within its range.

April 28, 2007 12:14
1 minute read.
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North Korea displayed a newly developed ballistic missile capable of reaching the US territory of Guam during a massive military parade this past week, a news report said Saturday. The parade in Pyongyang on Wednesday featured three new models, including the medium-range missile that can travel 2,500-4,000 kilometers, the Chosun Ilbo reported. The report cited an unidentified South Korean government official familiar with an analysis of US satellite images. "All three (new) models are ground-to-ground missiles," the official was quoted as saying. "Of them, the medium-range ballistic missile is noteworthy as it ... has Guam in its range." The Defense Ministry said it has no comment. North Korea's missile development has been a constant concern to the region, along with its pursuit of nuclear weapons. The hard-line regime test-fired a series of missiles in July last year, including its latest long-range model, known abroad as the Taepodong-2, which experts believe could reach parts of the United States. The North rattled the world again in October by conducting its first-ever test of a nuclear device. However, experts believe it does not have a bomb design advanced enough to be placed on a missile. Kim Tae-woo, a top missile expert at South Korea's state-run Korea Institute for Defense Analyses, said the North has been believed in recent years to be developing a brand new missile, separate from its Nodong or Taepodong missile series. "Personally, I was thinking that it was about the time for the North to show it off," Kim said. Wednesday's parade, which showcased 52 missiles, was reviewed by the North's leader Kim Jong Il. "By disclosing its newest missiles in large numbers this time, North Korea showed off that its strategic weapons are centered on nuclear weapons and their means of delivery," the paper quoted a military official as saying. North Korea reached a nuclear disarmament deal with the U.S. and four other neighbors in February, but it failed to shut down its main nuclear reactor by an April 14 deadline as agreed, due to problems receiving funds frozen in a separate banking dispute. Getting the US$25 million has been Pyongyang's main condition for disarmament.

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