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North Korea Advances Missile Threat Capabilities

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By Bruce Klingner /at The Daily Signal

North Korean Musudan intermediate-range ballistic missile during a military parade in the country’s capital, Pyongyang. (Photo: Kyodo/Newscom)

Portrait of Bruce Klingner Bruce Klingner, a senior research fellow for Northeast Asia at The Heritage Foundation’s Asian Studies Center, spent 20 years in the intelligence community working at the CIA and Defense Intelligence Agency.

 

After a series of previous failures, Pyongyang achieved partial success with the most recent launches of its Musudan intermediate-range ballistic missile.

On June 21, the two Musudan missiles traveled 150 and 400 kilometers—far short of a fully successful test but indicating incremental progress toward eventually achieving its estimated range of 3,500 kilometers. North Korea’s four previous Musudan test flights in April and May 2016 had all exploded shortly after launch.

Pyongyang achieved similar partial progress this year with its submarine-launch ballistic missile (SLBM) traveling 30 kilometers after several previous explosions immediately after launch.

The Musudan missile is assessed to be North Korea’s means to threaten U.S. bases in Guam, a critical node in allied plans for defending South Korea. Earlier this month, North Korea’s National Defense Commission warned that “The Korean People’s Army has long put into the range of its precision strike the U.S. bases and logistic bases for invading the DPRK [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea], including the Anderson Air Force Base on Guam where B-52Hs are deployed and naval bases for nuclear submarines.”

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