“”While it has ‘considerable’ range, the missile isn’t capable of hitting the continental U.S.,” reads the report from Bloomberg’s Sangwon Yoon, who gleaned a briefing from South Korean Defense Minister Kim Kwan Jin.
The medium-range missile will probably take about two weeks to prepare, Fitzpatrick said, which means a potential launch could coincide with the April 15 anniversary of the the birth of Kim Il Sung, the founder of North Korea and grandfather of its current leader, Kim Jong Un.
Known as “the Day of the Sun,” Kim Il Sung’s birthday is a major public holiday in North Korea that is usually accompanied by large-scale parades.
It’s unclear if the missile that South Korea reports as on the move is the same missile that internal communication is talking about. And here’s why that’s worrisome. “The projectile moved today isn’t a mobile KN-08 intercontinental ballistic missile,” Bloomberg’s Yoon reports. There are those words again “mobile ballistic missile.”
That KN-08 missile, according to U.S. officials, has the capability of hitting U.S. soil, but U.S. officials won’t tell us if it even exists. Foreign Policy’s Jeffrey Lewis recapped a March 15 briefing with Joint Chiefs of Staff Vice Chairman Adm. James Winnefeld:
Q: But do you know if that that KN-08 is a real or a fake missile? And do you know whether it has the range to reach the United States?
ADM. WINNEFELD: We would probably want to avoid the intelligence aspects of that. But — but we believe the KN-08 probably does have the range to reach the United States and the — our assessment of — of where it exists in its lifetime is something that would remain classified.
“North Korea, which unleashed another round of scathing rhetoric accusing the United States of pushing the region to the “brink of war,” could be planning a missile launch soon, a U.S. official said Thursday.
Communications intercepts in recent days indicated that Pyongyang could be planning to launch a mobile ballistic missile in the coming days or weeks, the official first told CNN. It’s unknown whether it would be a test or a strike.
As the bombast reaches a fever pitch, the United States is refining its message toward North Korea. The Pentagon now says it is working to decrease the temperature as it maintains a frank and vigilant stance toward Pyongyang’s threats.
Pentagon officials, while decrying North Korean saber-rattling, said recent announcements of U.S. military deployments in response to belligerent statements by North Korea may have contributed to the escalating tensions between the countries.