TOKYO — North Korea may fire a long-range ballistic missile toward Hawaii in early July, a Japanese newspaper said Thursday, amid escalating tensions between the communist country and the United States over Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programs.
The missile, believed to be a long-range Taepodong-2 with a range of up to 4,000 miles, would be launched from North Korea's Dongchang-ni site on the northwestern coast, said the Yomiuri daily, Japan's top-selling newspaper.
The report cited an analysis by the Japanese Defense Ministry and intelligence gathered by U.S. reconnaissance satellites.
The Yomiuri said the Taepodong-2 could fly over Japan and toward Hawaii, but that it would not be able to hit the main islands of Hawaii, which lie about 4,500 miles from the Korean peninsula.
The missile launch could come between July 4 and 8, the paper said. It noted that North Korea had fired its first Taepodong-2 missile on July 4, 2006. Also, July 8 is the anniversary of the 1994 death of North Korea founder Kim Il Sung.