South Korean and U.S. intelligence agencies say they are tracking North Korean preparations to test-fire Taepodong-2 missiles with a range of 6,700 km from a new launch pad in Cholsan-gun, North Pyongan Province.
Taepodong 2, North Korea three-stage Ballistic Missile
A South Korean government official said a U.S. reconnaissance satellite last week spotted a train carrying large cylindrical objects from a missile arsenal near Pyongyang to the test site in Tongchangri. “Given their size, these objects are presumed to be rockets for Taepodong-2 missiles,” the official added. Some experts speculated these could be an improved version of the Taepodong-2 missiles with a range of 10,000 km capable of reaching the U.S. mainland.
Military intelligence presumes it will be possible for North Korea to test-fire Taepodong-2 missiles one or two months from now because it takes considerable time to assemble the first, second and third-stage rockets, set up the launch pad, and fill the rockets with liquid fuel.
The preparations come after the North Korean Army on Jan. 17 threatened military action against the South. On Jan 30, the North Korean Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland declared inter-Korean peace agreements null and void. There is speculation that it may be trying to back the threat with concrete action.