Various experts predict that a second test of North Korea’s Hwasong-15 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) could come in the next few weeks as part of a pre-deployment move for the ICBM that is believed capable of hitting most of the US.
“North Korea already verified its technology through the first launch,” Kwon Yong-soo, former professor of Korea National Defense University, told South Korea’s JoongAng Daily. “It will likely fire another to announce it will operationally deploy the Hwasong-15.”
JoongAng also quoted Tal Inbar, the head of the Space and UAV Research Center at Israel’s Fisher Institute for Air and Space Strategic Studies, as saying in a Twitter post that Pyongyang will need at least 10-14 days to prepare for another launch.
“So, second test COULD be conducted around December 15-20,” Inbar wrote.
The US-based Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) said in an analysis in late November that a significant missile launch or other weapons of mass destruction activity could occur around December 17, the anniversary of the former North Korean leader Kim Jong-il’s death in 2011. Kim was the father of leader, Kim Jong-un.
The North test-fired a Hwasong-15 ICBM on November 29. South Korean military officials later confirmed that the rocket can strike targets over 13,000 kilometers (8,078 miles) away, putting most of the continental US within reach.
US media speculated over the weekend that Pyongyang may be experiencing trouble perfecting a warhead that can successfully re-enter the atmosphere before hitting its target. TV networks CNN and Fox News said the Hwasong-15 missile seems to have broken-up as it underwent re-entry last week.