Taepo Dong 2 Threat to the Homeland

North Korea remains a threat to US national security and to stability in Northeast Asia through activities like its “pursuit of nuclear weapons and long-range ballistic missiles,” the Defense Department told Congress on Thursday in its annual report on the communist nation’s military and security developments. The hermit kingdom “has an ambitious ballistic missile development program and has deployed mobile theater ballistic missiles capable of reaching targets throughout [South Korea], Japan, and the Pacific theater,” states the report. The North Koreans “will continue using and improving” the Taepo Dong 2 long-range ballistic missile that “could reach the United States with a nuclear payload if developed” as an intercontinental ballistic missile, states the report. North Korea “successfully launched” the TD-2—which North Koreans call the Unha-3—in December. “All three stages of the TD-2 appeared to operate nominally and placed a satellite into orbit,” states the report. “We expect that North Korea will seek to continue to test-launch missiles, including the TD-2 ICBM/space launch vehicle,” notes the report. The North Koreans displayed “a new road-mobile intercontinental ballistic missile” in April 2012 that’s not yet been flight tested. They’re also developing “a new solid-propellant short-range ballistic missile” and “an intermediate-range ballistic missile.”