WASHINGTON — The U.S. intelligence community has concluded that
North Korea could export intercontinental ballistic missiles or technology
to Iran over the next year.
"North Korea, I think, does have intercontinental ballistic missiles
that can reach the United States," Adm. Timothy Keating, chief of U.S.
Pacific Command, said. "Remember, that would include Hawaii and territories
of the United States in our area of responsibility in the Pacific. So yes, I
think they do have that capability."
In a briefing on Dec. 18, Keating said the U.S. military was preparing
for long-range missile strikes by Pyongyang, Middle East Newsline reported. The admiral said Pacific
Command has been increasing capabilities in missile defense.
North Korea has been assisting the medium- and intermediate-range
missile programs of Iran and Syria. Officials said Pyongyang has also sought
to export ballistic missile
systems to Libya, Sudan and Yemen.
"We think Iran will be the first to receive North Korea's ICBM systems
and technology," an official said. "From there, the capability could be
"We are prepared to deal with that eventuality should situation present
itself," Keating said. "By increased capabilities in ballistic missile
defense, we in the United States Pacific Command are more prepared to
address that issue should it develop."
Pyongyang has been developing the Taepo Dong-2 missile, said to have a
range of 4,000 kilometers. Officials said after a series of failures, the
two-stage missile project was believed to have achieved progress in 2008.
Officials said North Korea has sought to increase its missile exports to
the Middle East and other regions. They said Pyongyang was believed to be
exporting more than $600 million worth of missiles and technology per year.