N. Korea Retests 100-Mile-Range Cruise Missile

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), October 21, 2003 | Go to article overview

N. Korea Retests 100-Mile-Range Cruise Missile


Byline: Bill Gertz, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

North Korea yesterday conducted the third test flight of a new cruise missile hours after President Bush offered the communist state a concession aimed at resolving the nuclear-arms standoff.

U.S. officials said the antiship weapon was fired from the northeast coast of North Korea and traveled into the East Sea/Japan Sea.

The missile, identified as a modification of the Chinese-designed HY-2 Silkworm, has a range of about 100 miles, making it an "over-the-horizon" threat to U.S. ships, U.S. officials said. Silkworms have a range of about 60 miles.

North Korea's first modified-Silkworm test, in February, initially was identified by Secretary of State Colin L. Powell as a routine test of an "old" missile. Later analysis by U.S. intelligence indicated it was a significantly upgraded weapon.

A second flight test took place March 12, but intelligence officials labeled it a failure because of guidance-system problems. U.S. intelligence first learned of the missile upgrade from observing a military base in Angol, in northeastern North Korea.

Senior Bush administration officials, speaking to reporters on the condition of anonymity at an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Thailand, played down the missile test, calling it a grab for attention.

Mr. Bush and South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun urged Pyongyang in a statement "to refrain from any action which would exacerbate the situation."

North Korea has threatened in news reports in recent weeks to demonstrate the country's "deterrent," a statement interpreted by U.S. officials as a long-range missile test or even an underground nuclear test.

Pyongyang suspended tests of its new long-range missile known as the Taepo Dong. …

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