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N.Korea preparing for next ICBM launch: U.S. intelligence
Ballistic missiles on their TELs on parade in Pyongyang, October 2015 Photo- Rodong Sinmun

N.Korea preparing for next ICBM launch: U.S. intelligence

Former White House advisor says next provocation may take place within two weeks
JH Ahn
U.S. intelligence satellites spotted possible signs of North Korea’s next Inter Continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) launch, CNN has reported.
According to the report, two unnamed U.S. officials told the company that Pyongyang’s most likely scenario for its next launch will be the Musudan missile (BM-25), with a range of more than 3,500 kilometers, meaning it could hit Guam or parts of Alaska.“CSIS data on North Korea suggests the likelihood of a North Korean provocation after the ROK legislative elections on April 13 and before the (Workers’ Party of Korea) Congress in the first week of May,” Victor Cha, a former advisor to the George W. Bush administration said a few hours after CNN published its report.
Cha claimed socio-political factors such as the birthday of national founder Kim Il Sung’s birthday on April 15, or its upcoming Party Congress in the first week of May were reasons for speculating as to the time of possible North Korean provocation.
Cha also emphasized North Korea’s historical tendency to carry out provocations within seven days, on average, before or after the South Korean election, an event which was ongoing in South Korea as of Wednesday.
NK News intelligence director John Grisafi said North Korean’s advanced missile transporters would make it very challenging for the U.S. to effectively counter North Korean systems.
“CNN talked about ‘mobile missiles,’ this means missiles which are on transporter-erector-launchers (TELs),” said Grisafi.
“TELs are vehicles which not only carry the missile, but can also erect the missile into launch position and conduct the launch. This means the missiles can potentially be launched from any location which the vehicle can reach … making it harder to detect launch preparations.”
According to CNN, the most likely choice of missile for Pyongyang would be the Musudan missile (BM-25), the missile that can hit Guam and part of Alaska. But it also raised the possibility that the regime might test its Hwasong-13 (KN-08) and Hwasong-13 Mod-2 (KN-14), which are yet been tested.
The South Korean government a week ago issued warnings of the next possible North Korean provocation.
“(North Korea) can conduct the test of a nuclear warhead as long as the party leadership makes such a decision,” South Korean Defense Minster Han Min-gu said last week, citing intelligence sources, as well as surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) results on North Korean nuclear test sites.
No regular press briefing was held by the South Korean Defense Ministry on Wednesday as it was national holiday due to the election.
However, a number of local news outlets, including Newsis Agency reported unnamed defense officials saying that North Koreans are ready to conduct the next missile launch “anytime they wish to,” supporting the defense minister’s previous comment.
North Korea on the same day announced there will be “no negotiations” or unequal dialogue with the U.S. and said war with “iron, fire and nuclear (power)” is the only option left for them.
“Whether the issue would be solved through (equal) dialogue and negotiations or through ‘other methods’ entirely depends on the attitude of the U.S.,” said state-owned Korean Central Television, reading North Korean Foreign Ministry’s announcement.
Featured image: DPRK Today