North Korea ready to deploy, mass-produce new missile
TOKYO — North Korea says it’s ready to deploy and start mass-producing a new medium-range missile capable of reaching Japan and major U.S. military bases there following a test launch it claims confirmed the missile’s combat readiness and is an “answer” to U.S. President Donald Trump’s policies.
The solid-fuel Pukguksong-2 missile flew about 500 kilometres and reached a height of 560 kilometres Sunday before plunging into the Pacific Ocean. North Korea’s media said more missiles will be launched in the future.
Trump had no immediate public comment.
North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un ordered the launch and watched from an observation post, state media reported Monday. The Korea Central News Agency said the test verified technical aspects of the weapon system and examined its “adaptability under various battle conditions” before it is deployed to military units.
Kim reportedly said the launch was a success, “approved the deployment of this weapon system for action” and said that it should “be rapidly mass-produced.”
North Korea has significantly speeded up its missile tests over the past year or so and appears to be making tangible progress toward developing an arsenal that poses a threat not only to South Korea and Japan — which together host about 80,000 U.S. troops — but also toward an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching the mainland United States.
Pyongyang’s often-stated goal is to perfect a nuclear warhead that it can put on a missile capable of hitting Washington or other U.S. cities.