Saturday, February 14, 2009

Report: North Korea Could Test-Fire Taepodong-2 Missile This Month

Via FoxNews -

North Korea's most advanced long-range missile is being assembled at a launch site for a possible test-firing later this month, a newspaper said. Washington urged Pyongyang not to take any "provocative" actions that could undermine peace efforts.

The Taepodong-2 missile has recently been moved to the Musudan-ni site on the North's eastern seaboard, but it has not yet been seen near the launch pad, South Korea's mass-circulation Chosun Ilbo reported Friday.

"We assume that they are currently assembling the first- and second-stage rockets," the newspaper quoted an unidentified South Korean government official as saying.

South Korean and American intelligence authorities believe the North could test-fire the missile, potentially capable of reaching the western U.S., around Feb. 25, the first anniversary of South Korean President Lee Myung-bak's inauguration, the newspaper said.

The National Intelligence Service, Seoul's top spy agency, said it could not confirm the report, citing the sensitivity of intelligence matters.


The Taep’o-dong 2 is an intercontinental-range, road mobile, liquid propellant ballistic missile. It is currently North Korea’s only true ICBM.

The development of the Taep’o-dong 2 is estimated to have begun at the same time as the Taep’o-dong 1, in 1990. Pakistan and Iran have been receiving technical assistance on their missile projects that are derivatives of the Taep’o-dong 2 project. Iran’s Shahab-5/6 owes much to this North Korean design. It was reported that in 2004, North Korea put the missile up for sale to a number of Middle Eastern countries, Iran being one of them.

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