North Korean rocket
State media film a rocket carried by a military vehicle during a military parade to celebrate the centenary of the birth of Kim Il-sung in Pyongyang - Reuters

North Korea may possess nearly 200 missile launchers, almost double the number previously thought, according to a report from a state-run South Korean thinktank.

The Korea Institute for Defence Analyses (KIDA), North Korea is estimated to have around 200 transporter erector launchers (TELs).

Almost half of the launchers are believed to be for short-range scud missiles, while 50 are said to be for the untested medium-range Nodong missiles.

The remaining 50 TELs are for long-range Musudan missiles, says the thinktank.

The report, forwarded by South Korea, is being submitted by the Pentagon to the US Congress.

South Korea had earlier estimated that North Korea may have around 94 mobile missile launchers.

Kim Sung-kurl, a researcher at KIDA, said that North Korea is bent on expanding its missile programme despite its continuing economic difficulties.

"It is especially focused on certain asymmetric areas that can pose a threat to South Korea and US forces stationed in the South," Kim told South Korea's Yonhap news agency.

It is believed that this is the first time an official report either from Washington or Seoul has openly estimated the number of missile launchers in North Korea.

The latest report is likely to have serious ramifications as tensions in the Korean Peninsula are already rising.

The situation in the region became tense after North Korea had reportedly deployed two of its mid-range missiles off its coastal region targeting US bases. North Korea is believed to have withdrawn the missiles later, but continued its war of words against the US and South Korea.