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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

"Mine is Bigger Than Yours"

South Korea and the U.S. announced earlier this week a revision to a treaty between the two nations that would allow South Korea to extend the range of its ballistic missiles to reach anywhere in North Korea. North Korea responded by claiming its missiles can reach the U.S. mainland.
North Korea claimed Tuesday to have missiles that can reach the American mainland, and it said that the recent agreement between the United States and South Korea to extend the range of the South’s ballistic missiles was increasing the risk of war on the Korean Peninsula.

. . . Estimating the missile capabilities of a country as secretive as North Korea is notoriously difficult. But military experts and South Korean government officials have said that the North has already deployed ballistic missiles capable of reaching targets as far away as Guam, the American territory in the Pacific.

In addition, North Korea has repeatedly conducted what it calls satellite launchings that American and South Korean officials, as well as the United Nations Security Council, have condemned as a cover for developing and testing intercontinental ballistic missile technology.

In 1998, the North sent up a rocket called the Taepodong-1 that flew over Japan and crashed into the Pacific. In 2006, the Taepodong-2 exploded seconds after liftoff. The North launched yet another long-range rocket, the Unha-2, in 2009, but American and South Korean officials said the third stage never separated.

In April of this year, the Unha-3 rocket disintegrated in midair shortly after liftoff, a failure that the new government in Pyongyang publicly acknowledged.

But the North claimed to have successfully placed satellites into orbit in 1998 and 2009. The country has also conducted two nuclear tests, the first in 2006 and the second in 2009, although it remains unclear whether it can make a nuclear warhead small enough to fit atop a missile. Robert M. Gates said in early 2011, while he was the American defense secretary, that North Korea was within five years of being able to strike the continental United States with an intercontinental ballistic missile.
I wonder what China's military and political leaders think of North Korea being able to strike anywhere in China with nuclear weapons?

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