A new assessment on North Korea's missile capabilities.
An American aerospace expert says the regime's long-range missile, once fully developed, will be able to hit the U.S. mainland -- more specifically San Diego, where the U.S. has a key naval base.
Shin Se-min has more.
A North Korean intercontinental ballistic missile, once fully developed, would be able to hit the U.S. naval base in San Diego,… some 97-hundred kilometers away.
That's the assessment of John Schilling, a researcher at the Aerospace Corporation in California, who is also an expert on North Korean missiles.
In an analysis posted Monday on the North Korea monitoring website 38 North, Schilling said Pyongyang's Hwasong-14 ICBM would be able to reach the west coast of the United States with a payload weighing five-hundred kilograms.
He added that missile has a detachable payload shroud that could hold one or multiple warheads.
It also has decoys and penetration aids to help it get past U.S. missile defenses.
However, he noted that,... in order to load multiple warheads on the missile, North Korea would have to master the technology required to reduce the weight and size of the warheads,… something that would take time.
To develop a missile powerful enough to make it across the Pacific ocean... but light enough to carry multiple missiles, he said, would take at least 15 years.
As for America's missile defense system, Schilling called it limited and unreliable in its current state, noting that in tests it works only half the time.
But Pyongyang also has to consider that a working ICBM in its hands would motivate the United States to improve its defenses.
There *is* still controversy over whether the regime has or has not achieved such a capability.
The latest from South Korea's National Intelligence Service… is that Pyongyang's recent missile does not qualify as a fully developed ICBM... because there's no clear evidence it successfully re-entered the atmosphere.
And even though the North has the capability to conduct a nuclear test at any time,... the NIS sees no indication that such a test will take place in the near future.
Shin Se-min, Arirang News.