North Korea is assembling a missile that could hit U.S. soil and may test-launch it as early as this month, a newspaper reported, as a U.S. envoy on Wednesday urged Pyongyang to cease provocations and return to disarmament talks.
The hermit state’s nuclear test last week, putting it closer to having a working atomic weapon, has already prompted U.S. and South Korean forces to raise their military alert for the divided peninsula.
North Korea, which began racketing up regional tensions when it fired a long-ranged rocket over Japan in April, also test-fired a barrage of short-range missiles last week and threatened to attack the South.
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“The ICBM (intercontinental ballistic missile) is covered up so it’s tough to be absolutely clear but it looks similar to the Taepodong-2 fired in April but longer,” the JoongAng Ilbo quoted a South Korean government source as saying.
The April launch of a rocket that flew more than 3,000 km (1,800 miles) but short of the 4,800 km needed to strike Alaska triggered tightened U.N. Security Council sanctions that Pyongyang called unacceptable, threatening to launch an ICBM unless the world body apologised.