The North Korean communist regime is allegedly preparing to launch a ballistic missile during U.S.-South Korea military drills this week. South Korean news outlet Dong-A Ilbo reported on Oct. 14 that transporter-erecter-launchers (TELs) were seen moving in at least three regions.
It cited an unnamed government source stating that a U.S. satellite captured images of the TELs being moved in areas near Pyongyang and North Pyongan Province, saying Korean and U.S. military officials were observing the situation and view it as “a sign of preparation for the launch” of a ballistic missile.
The missiles may include the Hwasong-14 or Hwasong-13, it notes. North Korea has demonstrated its capability to launch missiles directly from the TELs.
The Hwasong-14 may be capable of reaching Alaska or Hawaii, David Wright co-director of the UCS Global Security Program stated in a report from the Union of Concerned Scientists, but it would not be able to reach the lower 48 states.
A new version of the Hwasong-13, on the other hand, may be capable of reaching most of the United States, although the missile is still in development.
According to the Center for Strategic & International Studies, the North Korean regime paraded the Hwasong-13 in 2015, although it notes that several analysts believed it was “merely a poorly designed mock-up to be used for propaganda purposes.” It notes it’s unclear whether North Korea has tested the missile, but there are experts who say it is operational.
The movements of the missiles were observed just ahead of joint military exercises between the United States and South Korea. The exercises will be held in the East and West Seas, and will run from Oct. 16 to Oct. 26.
Last week, North Korea threatened to fire a salvo of missiles into waters near the U.S. territory of Guam, in what it called “counteractions for self-defense.” It’s state-run news outlet KCNA stated, “The US military action hardens our determination that the US should be tamed with fire.”
The North Korean regime was previously threatening to use nuclear weapons on the United States and Guam, but backed off the threats on Aug. 15, soon after President Donald Trump warned North Korea on Aug. 9 that “North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury, like the world has never seen.”
Russia announced on Monday that President Vladimir Putin signed a decree enacting sanctions voted on by the U.N. Security Council last week. China and the United States already started to impose the sanctions last month.