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(LEAD) N. Korea yet to obtain missile re-entry technology: spy agency

All News 14:03 July 11, 2017

(ATTN: RECASTS headline; UPDATES with more info from 3rd para)

SEOUL, July 11 (Yonhap) -- North Korea has yet to fully secure the development of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) as it remains still unknown whether the country's recently fired ballistic missile successfully re-entered the atmosphere, a lawmaker said Tuesday quoting the spy agency.

North Korea claimed that it has developed an ICBM that could carry a large-size nuclear warhead, but it appears to be an unsubstantiated boast, Rep. Yi Wan-young of the Liberty Korea Party said after a parliamentary meeting with officials from the National Intelligence Service (NIS).

The July 4 ballistic missile launch appears to be in protest of a summit meeting between South Korea and the United States several days earlier as well as an attempt to thwart the international community's sanctions against the country, according to the NIS.

North Korea may have not attained the technology to guide a warhead precisely to a target, another key ICBM technology, given that the re-entry technique normally needs to be secured before that, the lawmaker said.

Quoting the spy agency, Yi also said North Korea is capable of conducting a nuclear test at its Punggye-ri site at any time, but there's no signs of an immediate detonation for the moment.

Forecasting the U.S. reaction to the recent missile launch, the NIS was quoted as saying that the country may consider more unilateral sanctions on North Korea, while Russia and China may increase calls to open dialogue with the North.

The NIS also said North Korea recently appointed Ho Yong-bok, the foreign ministry's director-general for the Africa, Arab and Latin America regions, as a new vice foreign minister in a cabinet reshuffle.


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