Sunday, July 30, 2006
Remember the North Korean missile test of July 5? The original reports said that the Taepodong-2, the putatively long-ranged missile that in theory could hit the United States, flew around 400 kilometers before falling into the Sea of Japan. Now Japanese intelligence is saying that in fact the Taepodong-2 did not get much beyond the launch pad:
Sources quoted by Kyodo news agency said the missile exploded in mid-air within 1.5 km of the launch site, either in a northeastern region of North Korea or in its territorial waters on the edge of the Sea of Japan.
Experts have said the missile is potentially capable of hitting parts of U.S. territory.
The problem was most likely due to difficulties with the missile's boosters, sources quoted by the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper said.
A Japanese government official quoted by the Yomiuri said the new analysis, which will be included in a report to be issued by the government early next month, indicated that North Korea's missile technology was still immature.
"It will likely take a long time for North Korea to launch a Taepodong-2 again," he added.
The question is, why did it explode?