Based on the size of the missile, the fuel composition, and the likely fuel capacity, it is estimated that a two stage variant would have a range of around 4000 km (2500 statute miles) and a three stage variant would be capable of reaching as far as 4500 km (2800 statute miles), giving it potentially the longest range in the North Korean missile arsenal. The burn time of each stage is a little over 100 seconds, thus allowing the missile to burn for 5 or 6 minutes. Future highly speculative variants of the missile could be capable of a range of approximately 9000 km (5600 statute miles). At maximum range, the Taepodong-2 is estimated to have a payload capacity of less than 500 kg. Whether this would be large enough to carry a North Korean designed nuclear warhead is currently unknown, as the full development status of the North Korean nuclear program is largely unknown. Most of it appears to be spin on the part of the North Korean government.
Very few details concerning the technical specifications of the rocket are in the public domain; even the name "Taepodong-2" is a designation applied by agencies outside of North Korea to what is presumed to be a successor to the Taepodong-1. The TD-2 first stage likely uses a liquid propellant (TM-185 fuel and AK-27I oxidizer) driven engine and the second stage likely utilises the Nodong short-range missile. Depending on the range, the estimated payload capacity could be as high as 700–1000 kg at short range, making it potentially suitable for conventional weapons payloads, NBC payloads as well as Earth orbit satellite delivery. At maximum range, the Taepodong-2 is estimated to have a payload capacity of less than 500 kg.  North Korea has yet to demonstrate the ability to produce a re-entry vehicle that works. It is doubtful that a TD-2 could be used to accurately deliver a weapons payload in the near future as the accuracy of the claims of its power cannot be verified.
A Taepodong-2 missile was test fired on July 5, 2006 from the Musudan-ri Missile Test Facility.  According to preliminary reports, the missile failed in mid-flight 35-40 seconds after launch.  North Korea also launched at least two short-range Nodong-2 missiles along with the Taepodong-2.
In June of 2006, U.S. intelligence reports revealed that North Korea was possibly planning to conduct a test flight of this missile. It was unknown when it would fly or indeed what the purpose of the flight would be, the two most likely explanations being a test flight or an attempted satellite delivery. The United States and Japan stated that they might consider sanctions against North Korea if it decided to go forward with the test. Both countries stated that the test or launch of a TD-2 missile by North Korea would be in violation of the Japan-North Korea Pyongyang Declaration, an agreement between Kim Jong Il and Junichiro Koizumi in which North Korea agreed not to test long-range missiles.
On late July 5, 2006 (July 4 in America), U.S. intelligence reported the launch of up to seven missiles, at least one of which was the long-range Taepodong-2, which failed within the first 40 seconds after launch. The launch location is believed to have been .
- Conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh often refers to the Taepodong-2 as the "Ding Dong" missile.
- The Taepodong-2 served as somewhat of a source of amusement for on Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Jon Stewart due to the fact that the way it's pronounced as "type o' dong", thus making way for various penis jokes.
- In the PS2 video game Ghost Recon 2 the Player sabotages a Taepodong class missile (in the last Single player mission "Paik's Revenge")Major-General Paik, who after initiating the launch committs suicide by shooting himself in the head inside a nuclear blast proof bunker. The player plants satchel charges on the launch pad and escapes in a CH-47 with his squad 15 seconds before the charges go off, the missile blows it's self up after getting 5 ft off the ground, but the possibility of this being based on the event in 2006 can be ruled out because the game was developed and released 2 years before the event.
Both countries have sought to develop long-range ballistic missiles to carry their warheads.
Both have also had close ties with China - seen by many experts as a key exporter of nuclear and missile know-how.
Suspicions are one thing but now the Americans seem to have concluded that they have hard evidence showing Pakistan's support for North Korea's nuclear weapons programme.
It all seems to be tied up with the information that prompted Washington to confront North Korean diplomats earlier this month.
That encounter appears to have resulted in an uncharacteristic admission from Pyongyang that it does indeed have a nuclear weapons programme.
The Americans said that North Korea was trying to obtain large quantities of high-strength aluminium for centrifuges that are used to enrich uranium to provide bomb-making material.