Analysis

North Korea Could Conduct Missile Tests on April 15
South Korean soldiers stand guard at the border village of Panmunjom several feet from the border with North Korea while a North Korean soldier at the top of the steps on the North’s side watches them. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)
April 10, 2013
| Security
| Asia and the Pacific
Summary
Reports today that North Korea is readying multiple missiles for test launches reinforce predictions that this will be Pyongyang’s next move to force negotiations with the United States and regional states. While the missile launches could occur at any time, there is an increasing belief that they will take place on April 15, the 101st anniversary of the birth of Kim Il Sung, the founder of the North Korean state and the current North Korean leader’s grandfather.
 
South Korean and U.S. officials yesterday said there were indications that North Korea could launch more missiles than previously expected, including Scud, Nodong and the untested Musudan, which has an estimated range of 1,800-2,500 miles. Officials in Seoul reported missile transporters in North Korea’s South Hamgyong province and U.S. officials said missiles on the North’s east coast have been injected with liquid fuel and are ready for launch.
Admiral Samuel Locklear, Commander of the U.S. Pacific Command, told the Senate Armed Services Committee yesterday that the United States has the ability to intercept North Korean missiles. “I believe we have a credible ability to defend the homeland, to defend Hawaii, defend Guam, to defend our forward-deployed forces and defend our allies,” he said in his testimony. Locklear said the United States could intercept a North Korea missile launch even if it took place over the next several days and has a “capability in place” to protect Guam.
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