Skip to main content

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

By Holly Yan, CNN
October 9, 2012 -- Updated 1640 GMT (0040 HKT)
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
April 2, 2014 -- Updated 1127 GMT (1927 HKT)
Experts warn that under Kim Jong Un's rule, Pyongyang has shown an even greater willingness to raise the stakes than before.
March 18, 2014 -- Updated 1314 GMT (2114 HKT)
China and North Korea criticize a U.N. report that found crimes against humanity committed in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
March 17, 2014 -- Updated 1205 GMT (2005 HKT)
Megumi Yokota was only 13 when she was abducted by a North Korean agent in the 1970s. What happened after that?
March 12, 2014 -- Updated 0430 GMT (1230 HKT)
Report: North Korea uses multiple techniques to defy sanctions, and shows no signs of abandoning its nuclear missile programs.
February 21, 2014 -- Updated 0817 GMT (1617 HKT)
Families torn apart for more than 60 years -- separated by the Korean War -- began to reunite at a mountain resort in North Korea Thursday.
February 18, 2014 -- Updated 1150 GMT (1950 HKT)
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.
February 18, 2014 -- Updated 0431 GMT (1231 HKT)
Former prisoners in North Korea describe horrific stories of being tortured by authorities.
February 14, 2014 -- Updated 1527 GMT (2327 HKT)
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.
February 8, 2014 -- Updated 0315 GMT (1115 HKT)
American Kenneth Bae, who is being held in North Korea, has been moved from a hospital to a labor camp.
January 8, 2014 -- Updated 0213 GMT (1013 HKT)
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.
January 27, 2014 -- Updated 0818 GMT (1618 HKT)
The first time the South Korean factory owner watched his North Korean employees nibble on a Choco Pie, they appeared shocked.
January 8, 2014 -- Updated 0126 GMT (0926 HKT)
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.
December 19, 2013 -- Updated 1800 GMT (0200 HKT)
Former NBA star Dennis Rodman arrives in North Korea to train basketball players, state-run media reports.
December 18, 2013 -- Updated 0250 GMT (1050 HKT)
The nation held a memorial in the honor of former North Korean leader, Kim Jong Il on the second anniversary of his death.
December 13, 2013 -- Updated 1558 GMT (2358 HKT)
Days after he was removed from his powerful military post, Jang Song Thaek was called a traitor and executed.
ADVERTISEMENT