The commander of US troops in South Korea said overnight Thursday short-range missiles recently test-fired by North Korea are "a quantum leap forward" from the communist-led nation's previous missile capabilities.
Appearing before the House of Representatives' Armed Services Committee, Gen. Burwell Bell said Thursday that the solid fuel missiles the North tested are more reliable and easier to move around than anything the North has produced before. Solid fuel missiles are also more durable and dramatically more accurate than liquid fuel missiles.
US and South Korean officials said North Korea test-fired two short-range missiles Wednesday, unsettling its Asian neighbors, who, along with the United States, are attempting to rid Kim Jong Il's reclusive government of its nuclear weapons program.
But Adm. William Fallon, head of the US Pacific Command, told reporters Thursday the North may have test-fired up to three solid fuel missiles, though he cautioned that he had not yet seen a detailed report. He said the missiles could reach targets in South Korea, but not beyond.