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N. Korea likely developing more accurate close-range ballistic missiles: report

2017/07/14 06:43

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WASHINGTON, July 13 (Yonhap) -- North Korea is likely developing close-range ballistic missiles with increased accuracy, range and lethality, a U.S. military intelligence report showed Thursday.

The report by the National Air and Space Intelligence Center disclosed recent developments in the missile programs of North Korea, Russia, Iran and China before the North test-fired an intercontinental ballistic missile last week.

In the report titled "Ballistic and Cruise Missile Threat," NASIC said North Korea appears to be improving its CRBMs with a maximum range of just under 300 kilometers.

"Iran and North Korea are likely progressing towards producing the Fadj-5 Aero CRBM and KN-SS-X-9, respectively," it said. "If the Iranians and North Koreans use satellite navigation systems (such as GPS) onboard their CRBMs, then the miss distance of these CRBMs could be reduced to tens of meters."

   North Korea currently has two types of CRBMs, called the Toksa and KN-SS-X-9, with a maximum range of 120km and 190km, respectively, according to the report.

"High accuracy of CRBMs would be a force multiplier for both the Iranian and North Korean artillery forces by giving them precision strike capability against high priority targets," it added.

The report said China, North Korea, Iran, India and Pakistan have also been developing new medium-range and intermediate-range ballistic missiles, of which many will be armed with nonconventional warheads.

"All of these countries except Iran have tested nuclear weapons," it noted.

The July 4 launch of the Hwasong-14 came as little surprise as North Korea has long threatened to strike the U.S. with a nuclear-tipped missile.

"In an April 2012 military parade, North Korea unveiled the new Hwasong-13 road-mobile ICBM and in an October 2015 parade displayed the new Hwasong-14 road-mobile ICBM," the report said. "Any of these systems could be exported to other countries in the future."

   North Korea is known to have exported missiles and missile technology to countries such as Iran and Pakistan.

This photo taken from (North) Korean Central Television on July 4, 2017, shows a Hwasong-14 intercontinental ballistic missile blasting off from an undisclosed site. In a special announcement, Pyongyang claimed it was successfully tested. (For Use Only in the Republic of Korea. No Redistribution) (Yonhap) This photo taken from (North) Korean Central Television on July 4, 2017, shows a Hwasong-14 intercontinental ballistic missile blasting off from an undisclosed site. In a special announcement, Pyongyang claimed it was successfully tested. (For Use Only in the Republic of Korea. No Redistribution) (Yonhap)

hague@yna.co.kr

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