Japan and South Korea say they have intercepted radio signals suggesting that North Korea may be preparing for a new ballistic missile test.
The Japanese government was on alert after detecting the radio signals, the country’s Kyodo news agency reported late on Monday.
“North Korea might launch a missile within the next few days,” the news agency quoted a source as saying.
The report also said, however, that the signals might be related to winter military training by the North Korean military as satellite images had not shown any missile or movable launch pad.
A Japanese government source said the signals were “not enough to determine” that a launch was to happen.
South Korea was also on high alert after similarly picking up radio and radar activity detected at a North Korean missile base.
South Korea’s news agency Yonhap reported that a missile-tracing radar had been switched on at an unspecified base on Monday.
“It’s true that active movements have been detected at a North Korean missile base,” Yonhap cited a government source as saying. “Signs like those spotted Monday have recently been detected frequently.”
“We need to watch a while longer before determining whether the North is preparing a missile launch or gearing up for (its own) winter drill that starts Friday,” it said.
Pyongyang sparked an outcry in September when it conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear test. It has also fired two missiles that controversially flew over Japan before landing in the sea.
North Korea says it needs to develop its missiles and nuclear weapons as a deterrent against hostility by the US and its regional allies.
The US has permanent military presence in the region, including in bases in both South Korea and Japan.