By Alex Jensen
SEOUL (AA) - North Korea cannot yet “precisely hit” a target with an intercontinental ballistic missile, according to South Korea’s National Intelligence Service, despite the North’s claim last week to have successfully tested an ICBM for the first time.
Pyongyang celebrated its July 4 launch as a “gift” for the United States on American Independence Day, having repeatedly warned of a strike on the U.S. mainland.
But Seoul’s intelligence agency has found no evidence for the North’s assertion that it can actually pose a threat with an ICBM just yet.
“The late-stage guidance technology, which is used to get the missile to precisely hit the target, is not yet fully developed because you would have to have the re-entry technology first,” lawmaker Yi Wan-young was quoted as telling reporters on Tuesday by The Korea Herald, after being briefed by the NIS.
“Given that it does not have a related testing facility, it appears to have not yet secured the technology,” Yi added, based on the agency’s findings.
While the NIS still sees North Korea’s latest test from a fixed -- rather than mobile -- launcher as pursuing re-entry technology, the agency also cautioned that Pyongyang could order its sixth-ever nuclear test at any moment.
The North faces extra sanctions following last Tuesday’s test, while a further provocation could lead to even greater global pressure to denuclearize.