S. Korea: NKorea Deploys New Ballistic Missile

North Korea recently deployed a new type of medium-range ballistic missile capable of reaching Australia and the U.S. territory of Guam, South Korea's Defense Ministry said Monday.

The report comes amid speculation that the isolated regime is also preparing to test-fire another, long-range missile able to hit Alaska.

The new intermediate-range ballistic missile can travel at least 1,800 miles (3,000 kilometers), which would put the Pacific island of Guam, the northern tip of Australia and much of Russia and India within striking distance, the ministry said in a report.

It did not offer any other details on the new missile, including exactly when or how many missiles have been deployed and where their launching grounds are.

The new missile is believed to be the same type displayed at a military parade in North Korea in 2007. The communist nation has been developing the missile since the late 1990s, according to a defense assessment on North Korea issued by the South every two years.

Pyongyang is also believed to be preparing to test-fire a version of its longest-range ballistic missile, the Taepodong-2, which is capable of reaching Alaska. Media reports say the missile being readied for launch could be an advanced version of the Taepodong-2 that could reach even farther and strike the U.S. west coast.

North Korea's missile program is a major security concern for the region, along with its nuclear weapons development.

The country test-launched a Taepodong-2 missile in 2006, but the rocket plunged into the ocean shortly after liftoff.

That test alarmed the world and gave new energy to the stop-and-start diplomacy over North Korea's nuclear program, though Pyongyang is not yet believed to have mastered the miniaturization technology required to put a nuclear warhead on a missile.

North Korea has also shorter-range Scud and Nodong missiles capable of hitting neighboring South Korea or Japan.

South Korea is the most likely target of Scuds, which have a range of up to 310 miles (500 kilometers), while Japan is the likely focus for Nodongs. The North is believed to have more than 1,000 Nodong and Scud missiles in its arsenal.

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  • by Brad Location: Winterville on Feb 23, 2009 at 10:09 AM
    Why should any of us worry about this or any other situation like this? The liberals will tell you its just more of Bush's scare tactics. No one wants to harm America or its people. Everything will be OK. Its just our imagination that there are people out there that want America to be nothing more than a pile of ashes. Thankyou Lord for giving some of us common sense, otherwise we we'd never survive.
  • by Delta Location: Greenville on Feb 23, 2009 at 09:22 AM
    I suppose obama will negoiate north korea to death! There"s only way to deal with a country like north korea, FORCE. We do not want to wait until they strike first. We have to predict what is surely tio come evendually and take action before hand. In the 40"s the USA would have taken action and the public would have supported it fully but now we live in a society of submissive people not willing to fight to defend their country and way of life. Forgetnately though we still have a few that will, have and are.

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