SEOUL, South Korea — U.S. and South Korean troops increased alert levels on Wednesday as South Korea’s foreign minister warned that North Korea could launch its medium-range Musudan missile “any time from now.”
Although North Korea has tested many of its short-range Scud and medium-range Rodong missiles, it has never flight-tested the longer-range Musudan, believed to have a range of around 2,175 miles. A successful test of the missile would demonstrate North Korea’s potential to hit not only South Korea but also all of Japan and targets as far away as the American military bases on the Pacific island of Guam.
“Based on intelligence we and the Americans have collected, it’s highly likely that North Korea will launch a missile,” Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se of South Korea told a parliamentary hearing on Wednesday, adding that such a test would violate United Nations resolutions banning the country from testing ballistic missiles. “Such a possibility could materialize at any time from now.”