Skip to main content

North Korea says it has missiles that can reach the United States

By Holly Yan, CNN
updated 12:40 PM EDT, Tue October 9, 2012
The U.S. Multiple Launch Rocket System launches rockets during a live training exercise in South Korea on September 13.
The U.S. Multiple Launch Rocket System launches rockets during a live training exercise in South Korea on September 13.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • An analyst says he doesn't find North Korea's claim to be credible
  • "It was politically impossible for them not to react" to South Korea, a professor says
  • South Korea announced a deal with the U.S. to extend its missile range to include the North
  • Previously, the South agreed to limit its missile range in exchange for access to U.S. technology

Read a version of this story in Arabic.

(CNN) -- North Korea said Tuesday its missiles can reach the U.S. mainland -- days after South Korea announced a deal with the United States to extend its missile range.

The strike zone of North Korean rocket forces includes "not only the bases of the puppet forces and the U.S. imperialist aggression forces' bases in the inviolable land of Korea, but also Japan, Guam and the U.S. mainland," the state-run Korean Central News Agency reported.

But some analysts questioned the claim.

"That's been a desire or an objective, politically, for North Korean leadership for quite some time. But they have not demonstrated that capability," said Daniel Pinkston of the International Crisis Group's North East Asia Program.

Sushi chef's North Korean drama
Tourism grows in North Korea

"To acquire that capability requires a lot of development and testing. And considering what they've done so far ... I don't find that credible. But I do think they're working toward acquiring that capability."

North Korean soldier shoots comrades, defects to South

The claim from Pyongyang comes amid increased tensions between the two Koreas after the North test fired a long-range rocket in April. That rocket exploded shortly after it was launched.

North Korea insisted it was trying to launch a satellite into orbit, but the attempt was widely viewed as a cover for a ballistic missile test.

Analysts say the country's latest threat isn't surprising after South Korea announced it reached a deal with the United States that allows Seoul to extend the range of its ballistic missiles.

"What else can they say? It was politically impossible for them not to react," said professor Andrei Lankov of Kookmin University in Seoul.

On Sunday, South Korea said it reached a deal with the United States that allows Seoul to extend the range of its ballistic missiles to include the northern peninsula of North Korea.

The deal with Washington revised the range of Seoul's missiles from 300 kilometers (186 miles) to 800 kilometers (497 miles), South Korean national security adviser Chun Yung-woo told reporters.

"The important goal in revising the missile pact is to deter armed provocation from North Korea," Chun said. "If North Korea is to attack or provoke, we are able to incapacitate its nuclear and missile (capabilities) in the early stage. We have guaranteed various capabilities to protect the life and safety of our people."

The South agreed in 1972 to limit its missile range to 180 kilometers (112 miles) in exchange for access to U.S. missile technology. Guidelines were revised in 2001 to allow for a range of 300 kilometers.

The two Koreas signed an armistice that ended the 1950-1953 Korean war, though a peace treaty was never signed. Technically, the two countries remain in a state of war.

Roughly 28,000 U.S. troops are stationed in South Korea.

South Korea says U.S. agrees to extend Seoul's ballistic missile range

CNN's Paula Hancocks, KJ Kwon and Elise Labott contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 7:27 AM EDT, Wed April 2, 2014
Experts warn that under Kim Jong Un's rule, Pyongyang has shown an even greater willingness to raise the stakes than before.
updated 9:14 AM EDT, Tue March 18, 2014
China and North Korea criticize a U.N. report that found crimes against humanity committed in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
updated 8:05 AM EDT, Mon March 17, 2014
Megumi Yokota was only 13 when she was abducted by a North Korean agent in the 1970s. What happened after that?
updated 12:30 AM EDT, Wed March 12, 2014
Report: North Korea uses multiple techniques to defy sanctions, and shows no signs of abandoning its nuclear missile programs.
updated 3:17 AM EST, Fri February 21, 2014
Families torn apart for more than 60 years -- separated by the Korean War -- began to reunite at a mountain resort in North Korea Thursday.
updated 6:50 AM EST, Tue February 18, 2014
A stunning catalog of torture and the widespread abuse of even the weakest of North Koreans reveal a portrait of a brutal state, the UN reported.
updated 11:31 PM EST, Mon February 17, 2014
Former prisoners in North Korea describe horrific stories of being tortured by authorities.
updated 10:27 AM EST, Fri February 14, 2014
Skiing is not the first thing that springs to mind when thinking about the isolated nation, but North Korea's ski resort is world class.
updated 10:15 PM EST, Fri February 7, 2014
American Kenneth Bae, who is being held in North Korea, has been moved from a hospital to a labor camp.
updated 9:13 PM EST, Tue January 7, 2014
Why is he being held by North Korea in a prison camp? These are the questions for many since his arrest in the isolated country in 2012.
updated 3:18 AM EST, Mon January 27, 2014
The first time the South Korean factory owner watched his North Korean employees nibble on a Choco Pie, they appeared shocked.
updated 8:26 PM EST, Tue January 7, 2014
Dennis Rodman's "Big Bang in Pyongyang" may be in a league of its own, but other stars too have mixed with repressive regimes before.
updated 1:00 PM EST, Thu December 19, 2013
Former NBA star Dennis Rodman arrives in North Korea to train basketball players, state-run media reports.
updated 9:50 PM EST, Tue December 17, 2013
The nation held a memorial in the honor of former North Korean leader, Kim Jong Il on the second anniversary of his death.
updated 10:58 AM EST, Fri December 13, 2013
Days after he was removed from his powerful military post, Jang Song Thaek was called a traitor and executed.
ADVERTISEMENT