United Press International
Jan. 30 (UPI) — An intermediate-range missile North Korea fired several times in 2016 may be tested before Pyongyang test-fires any intercontinental ballistic missiles under Kim Jong Un’s orders.
South Korea military officials who spoke anonymously to local news services EDaily and the Kukmin Ilbo said North Korea has yet to perfect the technology that could allow for the atmospheric re-entry of a long-range ballistic missile.
The reports come a week after a Japanese television network reported North Korea placed two new intercontinental ballistic missiles into position in an area north of Pyongyang.
But officials in Seoul are now saying North Korea has not developed any new ICBMs aside from the KN-08 and the KN-14.
North Korea is likely to test-launch a midrange Musudan because the missile needs technical improvements, and its detonator and atmospheric re-entry need to be tested.
During his New Year’s speech, Kim said North Korea had reached the final stage of preparations for launching an ICBM, and state media said a launch could take place at “any time, any place” in the weeks that followed…