SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA - APRIL 08:  People burn a ...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

Some display of power, eh? To 'threaten' US, and deter further plans of interfering with other countries' business, internal or external? Whatever, the implication may be far-reaching than planned or expected.


06/18/2009 | 12:46 PM

TOKYONorth Korea may fire a long-range ballistic missile toward Hawaii in early July, a Japanese newspaper said Thursday, amid escalating tensions between the communist country and the United States over Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programs.

The missile, believed to be a long-range Taepodong-2, would be launched from North Korea's Dongchang-ni site on the northwestern coast, said the Yomiuri daily, Japan's top-selling newspaper. It cited an analysis by the Japanese Defense Ministry and intelligence gathered by US reconnaissance satellites.

The missile launch could come between July 4 and 8, the paper said. It noted North Korea had fired the Taepodong-2 missile on July 4, 1996. Also July 8 is the anniversary of the 1994 death of North Korea founder Kim Il Sung.

The Yomiuri report is the latest in mounting media speculation that the communist country could launch a long-range missile soon following its underground nuclear test on May 25.

A spokesman for the Japanese Defense Ministry declined to comment on the report. Officials from South Korea's Defense Ministry and the National Intelligence Service — the country's main spy agency — said they could not confirm it.

While the Yomiuri speculated the Taepodong-2 could fly over Japan and toward Hawaii, it said the missile would not be able to hit the main islands of Hawaii.

In Washington on Tuesday, Gen. James Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said it would take at least three to five years for North Korea to pose a real threat to the West Coast of the United States.

North Korea is believed to have enough weaponized plutonium for at least half a dozen atomic bombs. The regime revealed last week that it is also producing enriched uranium. The two materials are key ingredients for making atomic bombs.

North Korea conducted its second nuclear test on May 25 following its first underground atomic blast in October 2006.

The United Nations last week punished North Korea over the May nuclear test by expanding an arms embargo and authorizing ship searches on the high seas in a bid to derail its nuclear and missile programs.

North Korea has claimed its nuclear bombs are a deterrent against the United States and accuses Washington of plotting with Seoul to topple its secretive regime — led by the unpredictable dictator Kim Jong Il who is reportedly preparing to hand over power to his 26-year-old youngest son, Jong Un. - AP

From; see the source article here.

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