North Korea may be gearing up to test a mobile ballistic missile that officials say could have the capability to strike U.S. territory, intelligence satellites have indicated.
U.S. officials said Pyongyang would most likely launch an intermediate-range Musudan missile, which may have the ability to reach Guam and Alaska’s Shemya Island, CNN reported Tuesday.
North Korea could also choose to launch one of its two intercontinental ballistic missiles, either the Kn-08 or Kn-14, which officials said could strike the Pacific Northwest of the U.S. That territory includes Oregon, Washington, and parts of northern California.
The Kn-08 has a range of 6,200 miles. Pentagon officials previously told the Free Beacon that the Kn-14 is a "Kn-08 on steroids" with greater precision and range. The regime first displayed the Kn-14 missile October 2015 during a military parade in Pyongyang.
If North Korea decides to go through with a test of the ballistic missiles the launches would be unprecedented.
If the North were, for the first time, to launch a mobile missile with these types of ranges, it would be a significant military advance and a change in the North Korean calculus for the U.S., military officials say. In a conflict, mobile launchers can quickly shoot and move to a new position making it very difficult for satellites or spy planes to track them. It would also be a violation of U.N. resolutions banning North Korea from ballistic missile tests.
Officials told CNN that North Korea is cognizant of U.S. spy satellites maintaining persistent monitoring on its missile program and predicted that the regime could simply be attempting to deceive the U.S. Pyongyang may ultimately decide not to take action, officials said.
North Korea successfully launched a three-stage, intercontinental ballistic missile from an immobile launch pad earlier this year, according to CNN.