November 05, 2019 12:28
The government is sending out confusing messages over North Korea's ability to fire long-range missiles from mobile launchers.
National Intelligence Service chief Suh Hoon told the National Assembly on Monday that North Korea has probably fired an intercontinental ballistic missile from a mobile launch pad or transporter erector launcher.
Yet only last Friday, Cheong Wa Dae national security adviser Chung Eui-yong told lawmakers, "I can confidently tell you that the North will not be capable of launching an ICBM once the Tongchang-ri missile launch facility is shuttered."
That would suggest the North has not perfected the technology to fire them from mobile launchers instead.
The spy agency also warned that North Korean missiles pose a threat to South Korea, whereas Chung claimed they "do not pose a serious threat."
Speaking about the North's latest submarine-launched ballistic missile, the Pukkuksong-3, an NIS official was quoted as telling lawmakers that the missile's capacity has been "improved" in terms of flight capabilities and nuclear payload.
According to the NIS, the North is close to deploying a new 7 m wide and 80 m long Romeo-class submarine that will be capable of launching an SLBM.
The NIS added North Korean leader Kim Jong-un aims to hold a summit with U.S. President Donald Trump in December, and this will probably come to pass.
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