The Obama administration has reason to believe that North Korea could launch ballistic missiles at anytime. Here’s what you need to know.
1. North Korea May Test Fire Mobile Ballistic Missiles at Any Time
The Obama administration said that North Korea could test fire mobile ballistic missiles at anytime because it has reason to believe that Pyongyang has completed test preparations, reports CNN. According to Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se, the missile is expected to be a medium-range Musudan missile with a range of 2,180 miles capable of flying over Japan.
2. It Could Happen Without North Korea Issuing a Notice
A United States official said that one or more missiles could be launched without North Korea issuing a standard warning to commercial aviation and maritime shipping.
“We hope they issue a notification but at this point we don’t expect it. We are working on the assumption they won’t,” the official said.
3. The United States Thinks the Missiles are Halfway Down the Eastern Coast
However, most of the information comes from satellite imagery and due to weather conditions there is no way to be absolutely certain. The U.S. has been able to keep satellites over the suspected launch area for the past week and from what they can see, it looks like the missiles received their liquid fuel and are ready to go. It is believed that the launch site is halfway down the eastern coast of North Korea and about 10 miles inland.
4. After Launch, U.S. Radars Would Be Able to Predict its Path
If a launch were to actually occur, the U.S. satellites would be able to calculate the path and distance of the missile in minutes and quickly decide if it needs to be shot down. In the event that the missile is headed for open water, it would not necessarily need to be shot down, but if it were headed for land, such as Japan, action would need to be taken.
5. North Korea Warned Foreigners in South Korea
The fact that North Korea issued a statement on Tuesday warning foreigners in South Korea to evacuate or face getting caught in a nuclear war is further reason to believe that a missile launch in imminent.
“We do not wish harm on foreigners in South Korea should there be a war,” said KCNA, the official North Korean news agency.