Report: N. Korea targeted Hawaii

Japanese paper says missile tests were aimed at waters near islands.

n korean missiles 224.88 (photo credit: AP [file])
n korean missiles 224.88
(photo credit: AP [file])
North Korea targeted waters near Hawaii when it fired a long-range missile this week, a Japanese newspaper reported Friday. The long-range Taepodong-2 was part of a barrage of seven missiles test-fired by North Korea on Wednesday. They all fell harmlessly into the Sea of Japan, but South Korean officials said the long-range missile had malfunctioned, suggesting it was intended for a more remote target. Japan's conservative mainstream daily Sankei said that Japanese and US defense officials have concluded that the Taepodong-2 had targeted US state of Hawaii in the Pacific Ocean, after analyzing data collected from their intelligence equipment. The newspaper quoted unidentified Japanese and US government officials. The officials decided that the missile was pointed at Hawaii from the angle of its nose cone immediately after its launch and the altitude it has reached, after analyzing data collected by Aegis-equipped destroyers and RC-135S electronic reconnaissance aircraft, the newspaper said. It said the findings support a belief that intentions behind North Korea's missile firing was to protest US economic sanctions against the isolated regime. Japanese Defense Agency refused to confirm the report. The Taepodong-2, North Korea's most advanced missile, has a range of up to 15,000 kilometers and believed capable of reaching parts of the United States with a light payload. Hawaii is about 7,000 kilometers southeast of North Korea. It was not immediately known why Hawaii was targeted, the daily said, but added that analysts believe Pyongyang might have tried to demonstrate the missile could reach the United States, or because Hawaii is home to the headquarters of the US Pacific Fleet. North Korea might have also avoided targeting Alaska because of a risk the missile could mistakenly hit a land area in that route, the report said.