N.Korea ready to test ICBMs, says Seoul

Seoul, Jan 19 (IANS) North Korea has successfully built and is ready to launch two Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBM), sources from South Korea’s Defence Ministry said on Thursday.

South Korean intelligence officials have acquired pictures showing two missiles on their respective launch platforms, which were picked up by radars in the US earlier this week, the sources said.

Kim Jong-un’s regime may have prepared their new long-range weapons to send “a strategic message” to the US before the imminent inauguration of US President-elect Donald Trump on Friday, defence sources told Yonhap news agency.

The information comes after in early January North Korea said it could carry out ICBM tests anytime, anywhere.

Kim Jong-un also said in his New Year message that the experimental intercontinental-range missiles were in the final phase of development, Efe news reported.

North Korean state news agency KCNA reported on Thursday on the first inspection of North Korean troops carried out by the young dictator this year, who urged them to be always prepared for action and to focus only on combat.

According to the latest intelligence data, Pyongyang’s new ICBM measures less than 15 metres in length, less than its two other models of the same missile type KN-08 and KN-14.

According to experts, North Korea currently has the capacity to launch a missile with a range of 2,500 km has a long way to go to build operational missiles with the minimum range of 5,500 km that can be considered as intercontinental.

The last time North Korea conducted a long range missile test was on February 7, 2016, which, coupled with a nuclear test conducted a month earlier, led the United Nations to impose strict sanctions on Pyongyang.