North Korea's new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), which was displayed during a military parade held in Pyongyang to mark the 75th founding anniversary of the ruling Workers' Party. (KCNA-Yonhap)
More verification is necessary to determine whether North Korea has atmospheric reentry technology for its intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM), the defense ministry said Thursday, following a US think tank report suggesting Pyongyang has already mastered the technology.
In the 2021 Index of US Military Strength report, the Heritage Foundation said Pyongyang's ICBM reentry vehicles "would likely perform adequately if flown to a normal trajectory to continental US targets," citing US intelligence authorities.
Asked to comment on the assessment, South Korea's deputy defense ministry spokesperson, Col. Moon Hong-sik, pointed out that North Korea has not conducted a real-range ICBM test necessary to prove its reentry capabilities.
"It is our consistent stance that additional verification is necessary to tell whether they have secured the technology," he said during a regular press briefing.
In the report, the Heritage Foundation said North Korea poses major threats to vital interests of the United States as it continues to advance its missile and nuclear capabilities.
Last month, North Korea held a massive military parade in Pyongyang and showed off a new ICBM, along with other weapons, with leader Kim Jong-un vowing to continue strengthening the country's self-defense "war deterrent." (Yonhap)