North Korea assembling missile |

North Korea assembling missile

PANMUNJOM, Korea (AP) ” North Korea is assembling a long-range missile capable of reaching Alaska, a news report said Wednesday, as the communist regime prepared to test-fire a barrage of missiles from both coasts.

The moves further heightened tensions in the region following North Korea’s underground nuclear test last week, and came as speculation grows that leader Kim Jong Il has selected his third son as heir to the secretive communist dynasty.

The mass-market JoongAng Ilbo newspaper said today that a long-range missile ” transported by train to the Dongchang-ni launch site near the North’s northwest coast near China ” is believed to have entered an assembly building.

An American military official confirmed an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of striking the U.S. was being readied at a base on the North’s west coast. The official said it could be more than a week before Pyongyang was ready to launch.