U.S. intelligence agencies say North Korea is moving mobile missile launchers around the country carrying intercontinental ballistic missiles, the New York Times said Thursday.
The missile was first spotted in a military parade marking the 100th anniversary of the birth of North Korea's founder Kim Il-sung in April last year. At the time, pundits said it was probably a life-sized mock-up.
"The new mobile missile, called the KN-08, has not yet been operationally deployed, and American officials say it may not be ready for some time," the paper said.
"But the discovery that the mobile units have already been dispersed around the country, where they can be easily hidden, has prompted the White House, the Pentagon and intelligence agencies to reassess whether North Korea's missile capabilities are improving at a pace that poses a new challenge to American defenses."
North Korea does not seem to have tested the missile. It is estimated to be 2 m wide and 18 m long with a range of between 5,000 to 6,000 km. The 16-wheeled mobile launcher was smuggled in from China.
The New York Times said Pyongyang may be sending Washington a message or is at least trying to draw its attention by intentionally moving the missile launchers around the country, where they are likely to be spotted by U.S. spy satellites.