SEOUL — North Korea claimed Tuesday to have missiles that can reach the US mainland, and it said that the recent agreement between Washington and the South Korean government to extend the range of South Korean ballistic missiles was increasing the risk of war on the Korean Peninsula.
North Korea has often threatened to strike the ‘‘heart’’ of the United States, and a propaganda poster there shows a North Korean missile hitting what looks unmistakably like Capitol Hill. But the warning issued Tuesday was more detailed.
Estimating the missile capabilities of a country as secretive as North Korea is notoriously difficult, according to military specialists and South Korean government officials. But they have said that the North has already deployed ballistic missiles capable of reaching targets as far away as Guam, the US territory in the Pacific.
In addition, North Korea has repeatedly launched rockets that US and South Korean officials, as well as the UN Security Council, have condemned as a cover for developing and testing intercontinental ballistic missile technology. The North has insisted that the launches were intended to put satellites into orbit.