Connect to share and comment
North Korea is believed to possess mobile intercontinental ballistic missiles called Hwasong-13 but the weapon system is unlikely to be reliable yet, a U.S. Defense Department report said Wednesday.
"If successfully designed and developed, the Hwasong-13 likely would be capable of reaching much of the continental United States," the annual report on North Korea's military capability said.
But as the missile has not been flight-tested, "its current reliability as a weapon system would be low," according to the report titled "Military and Security Developments Involving the Democratic People's Republic of Korea 2013."
North Korea displayed what appeared to be ICBMs "on six road-mobile transporter-erector-launchers during military parades in 2012 and 2013," the report, submitted to Congress, said.
The missile, also known as KN-08, has an estimated range of some 5,500 kilometers, according to the report.
The report downplayed the likely effect on North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's regime of the execution of Jang Song Thaek, his uncle and one-time right-hand man.
The purge of Jang "is unlikely to lead to major changes in defense policy or internal stability in the near-term," it said.
The report also said the Pentagon believes North Korea cannot deliver a weapon to target from an ICBM yet as the country has not tested a vehicle that can reenter the atmosphere.
The Pentagon regards the weapons systems of the Korean People's Army as mostly aging as it is using "legacy equipment, either produced in, or based on designs of, the Soviet Union and China dating back to the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s."
"Although a few weapons systems are based on modern technology, the KPA has not kept pace with regional military capability developments," it said.
Copyright 2014 Kyodo News International.
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.