North Korea is reportedly preparing to fire a long-range ballistic missile toward the US state of Hawaii in early July, reports say.
Japan’s top-selling newspaper the Yomiuri said Thursday that a Taepodong-2 with a range of up to 4,000 miles (6,500 kilometers) could fly over Japan and toward Hawaii.
However, the daily added that the missile would fall short of Hawaii’s main islands which lie about 4,500 miles (7,200 kilometers) from the North Korea.
The paper noted the Taepodong-2 launch could come in the first week of next month.
A spokesman for the Japanese Defense Ministry declined to comment on the report.
Senior officials in Washington, meanwhile, say that it would take at least three years for Pyongyang to pose a real threat to the West Coast of the US.
The tension in the troubled Korean peninsula has escalated over North’s May 25 nuclear test and a series of missile launches since then.
Pyongyang insists it nuclear program is deterrent against US forces in the region and accuses US President Barack Obama of plotting with regional allies to topple the Pyongyang government.