North Korea appears to be preparing for another missile launch weeks after it sparked an international uproar by its first intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) test, a South Korea source says.
The Yonhap news agency on Tuesday cited a South Korean government source as saying that North Korea would launch a new missile soon.
Reports in South Korean and US media predicted the test could coincide with the 64th anniversary of the end of the Korean War on July 27. It is a public holiday in the nuclear-armed North and celebrated as Victory Day.
“Movements by transporter erector launchers carrying (intercontinental ballistic missile) launch tubes have been continuously observed in North Pyongan (province),” said the South Korean source.
“There is a high possibility that the North may carry out (the test-launch) around the July 27 armistice day,” the source added.
US and South Korean officials have warned the next missile could be an ICBM as well.
On Monday, the CNN cited a US military official as saying Pyongyang appeared to be preparing for another missile test. That official said transporter vehicles carrying launching equipment were seen arriving at Kusong in North Pyongan last Friday.
On July 4, US Independence Day, Pyongyang test-fired its first ICBM, which experts believe can reach Alaska. The North said the missile could hit anywhere in the world.
Pyongyang says its missile program acts as a deterrent against US aggression and expansionism.
Last week, North Korea refused to respond to South Korea’s offer of military and family reunification talks.
“We’re keeping close surveillance on the North for possible provocative acts,” a South Korean Defense Ministry spokesman told AFP.
Yonhap also quoted a different Seoul government source as saying that an 1,800-tonne North Korean submarine in the Sea of Japan (East Sea) may be collecting data to prepare for a ballistic missile test-launch from the North’s largest submarine.