The Democratic People's Republic of Korea is a country in East Asia, located in the northern half of the Korean Peninsula bordering South Korea and China. Its capital, Pyongyang, is the country's largest city by both land area and population. It is a single-party state led by the Korean Workers' Party (KWP), and governed by Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un since 2012. It has a population of 24,052,231 (UN-assisted DPRK census 2008) made up of Koreans and a smaller Chinese minority. Japan 'opened' Korea in 1876 and annexed it in 1910. The Republic of Korea (ROK) was founded with US support in the south in August 1948 and the Soviet-backed Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) in the north in September that year.
North Korea claims to have rockets extending to US mainland
Threat comes after US-S Korean deal extending S Korea's missile range; statement is doubted
North Korea said yesterday it possessed rockets capable of striking the United States mainland, as it slammed a new US-South Korean deal to extend the range of the South's missile systems as a provocation for war.
The threat, which analysts largely dismissed as bluster, came after South Korea announced an agreement with the US to almost triple the range of its missiles to 800 kilometres to cover the whole of North Korea.
A spokesman for the North's National Defence Commission said the nation's military, including "strategic rocket forces", had a "scope of strike" that not only covered US and South Korean bases in South Korea, "but Japan, Guam and the US mainland".
North Korea is known to have an inter-continental ballistic missile in development - the Taepodong-2 - but it has never been tested successfully. Yun Duk-Min, professor at Korea National Diplomatic Academy, said: "There is no evidence that North Korea has succeeded in tests of a missile with a range long enough to hit the US mainland."
In April, North Korea failed with a hyped rocket launch that Pyongyang said was aimed at placing a satellite in orbit.
Days later, North Korea raised eyebrows by displaying what appeared to be a new set of ICBMs at a military parade to mark the 100th birthday of its late founder Kim Il-sung. But Western military analysts and UN sanctions experts concluded the display models were simply mock-ups.
South Korea had no comment on the North's statement.
North Korean long-range rockets are believed to have a range of about 6,700 kilometres, putting parts of Alaska within reach. But the North's spotty record in test launches casts doubt over its military capability.
Additional reporting by Associated Press